Derby Dozen - April 9, 2013 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Revolutionary Todd Pletcher Click Here!

War Pass—Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy

Although we’ve seen a number of talented 3-year-olds, this year’s Derby trail has become pretty much of a crapshoot. Leaving him at No. 1 mainly because there’s no reason to put anyone else there. Basing that a good deal on pedigree, especially the stamina in female family, and the colt’s will to win and ability to overcome adversity. There’s been a lot of talk about Goldencents’ 105 Beyer, as well as Verrazano’s 95 and other sub-100 figs by Eastern horses, but let’s not forget, this colt ran a 102 Beyer breaking his maiden and is heading back up there, despite having terrible trips. Who knows how fast he can run with a clean trip?


Orb Shug McGaughey

Malibu Moon—Lady Liberty, by Unbridled

I’ve been saying all along that, as a traditionalist, I’m pulling for the colt’s connections because they do things the right way. He’s improving the right way, he’s been trained the right way, and he runs the right way. My main question is how fast he really is, as his times haven’t stacked up against other times on the same card. But I don’t believe we’ve seen his best, despite four straight victories. Would Johnny V and Cordero actually take off an undefeated Pletcher colt? Let’s just say I’m sure Shug is already shopping around.


Verrazano Todd Pletcher Click Here!

More Than Ready—Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway

There are going to be some who liked his Wood victory and others who didn’t. The bottom line is he did what he had to and got a lot out of the race. That 1:13 4/5 three-quarters was a gift for a horse with his brilliance, but his last 3f in :36 3/5 was solid and he did fight off the challenge of a very classy horse. This colt gallops out after his works faster than that, so it’s safe to say he’s not a speedy-crazy horse and can settle. Once they go three-quarters that slow, you have to ignore speed figures, as it becomes a freaky kind of race. Bottom line is when you can get a good prep, show some fortitude, and win it, too, that’s an ideal scenario. He did try to get out on three separate occasions in the stretch. He’s going to confront a much stiffer pace in the Derby, so we still have no idea how he’s going to handle that going 1 1/4 miles in a 20-horse field.


Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Click Here!

Tapit—Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor

Whereas the Wood was VJ-Day (Verrazano’s Victory in Jamaica Day), it also was D-Day (or Derby Day) for Normandy Invasion, whose closing rush to snatch second gave him the 40 points he needed to make the Derby cut. Despite the slow pace, his :36 1/5 final 3f still was very impressive, as was his strong gallop-out, opening up 5 lengths. He did have his head cocked to outside coming down the stretch. As soon as he hit the finish line, the rush began to jump on his bandwagon, with jocks agents all over the country no doubt groveling to get the mount. Like Velazquez, it will be hard for Castellano to go off Revolutionary, but this also is a very enticing mount. Cannot recall when the four possible Derby favorites had only two riders. His female family has a good deal of speed influences, but he runs like a horse who wants to keep going.


Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Click Here!

Awesome Again—Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy

Still believe this colt has tremendous upside and would have to be a trip handicapper’s delight. Just want to see what he can do with a good trip, where he doesn’t lose a ton of ground and doesn’t make a premature move. His running style would seem to fit Gary Stevens perfectly. Last time he had a good trip he won by over 11 lengths. He is one horse whose pedigree shouts 1 1/4 miles on both sides and I just want to see a big effort that can move him forward one more time.


Goldencents Doug O'Neill

Into Mischief—Golden Works, by Banker's Gold

His Santa Anita Derby score was impressive for sure, but I just don’t know what to make of him going 1 1/4 miles. His pedigree is inundated with sprinters and milers, even though his jockey already has him going 1 1/2 miles. His 105 Beyer was a big jump from last, but he came home his last 3f in a moderate :38 1/5. But to his credit he did run his opening three-quarters in 1:10 2/5 and beat the third horse by almost 10 lengths, although this was not a strong field as a whole by any means. Imagine O’Neill winning back-to-back Kentucky Derbys with Mario Gutierrez and Kevin Krigger. He’s already done it in the Santa Anita Derby, which is pretty remarkable in itself.


War Academy Bob Baffert Click Here!

Giant's Causeway—Cabbage Key, by A.P. Indy

Pulling this one out of left field, despite the fact he’s behind the eight-ball and is a big lazy horse with not a lot of racing foundation. But I feel he’s going to run big in the Arkansas Derby. Watched his last race several times and was very impressed with the way he won and the way he moves. Remember, Manando, the horse he just cruised by with little effort, gave Goldencents all he could handle in the Sham Stakes (98 Beyer), and he came home in :23 4/5, :24, and :06 2/5 eased up. What I also love about him is how he takes after his sire and most of all his broodmare sire, running low to the ground. His stride is extremely reminiscent of A.P. Indy and rightly so. His dam is inbred 4x3 to Gay Missile, who is the great-granddam of A.P. Indy and granddam of Mayville’s Magic, who was bred to A.P. Indy to produce War Academy’s dam. So, you’ve got A.P. Indy’s great granddam close up twice in his female family. Also, I love the fact that in the year of Secretariat’s 40th anniverary of his Triple Crown sweep, this colt is inbred three times to Big Red through super mares Terlingua (dam of Storm Cat), Weekend Surprise (dam of A.P. Indy), and Secrettame (dam of Gone West). Many questions, but I’ll take a shot with him.


Vyjack Rudy Rodriguez

Into Mischief —Life Happened, by Stravinsky

It looked as if he were making a winning move after Rosario set him down in the stretch, but he couldn’t get closer than Verrazano’s flank. It was reported he bled a ‘2’ on a scale of ‘5,’ but bleeding through Lasix, you have to ask if the bleeding was caused by his struggle and inability to catch the winner. Once again, I honestly don’t know how far he wants to do go, but I am still convinced he’s an extremely talented horse. It also must be noted that inner track horses took a beating from Florida shippers all afternoon. He tried awfully hard, but I think the slow pace hurt him, as he had to really buckle down to try to catch Verrazano, who had a lot left after those inert fractions. Normandy Invasion was able to come late and pick up the pieces and just nail him for second. I’m not crazy about a horse going into a stressful race like the Kentucky Derby having just bled and having a dicey temperament on top of that. I think he’s better than No. 9, but for now this is as high as I can rank him until I see him train at Churchill.


Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. Click Here!

Lawyer Ron—Viva la Slew, by Doneraile Court

Here we go again. It’s not easy moving him down to No. 10 after having him No. 1 for so many weeks, and he is another who could be an overlay come Derby Day. I just wish he had put up a little more of a fight when Orb came to him and had an easier time putting away Merit Man, who was coming off all sprints. There is always that nagging feeling that perhaps he simply ran too fast too early and peaked way too soon. It wasn’t surprising he regressed off his two monster speed figures in the Holy Bull and Gulfstream Derby, but I was hoping he would be more competitive. Let’s see how much energy he shows in his training after getting to Churchill.


Mylute Tom Amoss

Midnight Lute—Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations

This big good-looking colt takes after his sire in appearance and is really coming around the right way. His second in the Louisiana Derby fits the pattern of many Derby winners. He has the right temperament, can sprint or go long, and is sound and battle-tested. And he will have blinkers off second time in the Derby. He’s had nine starts at five different tracks and has really flourished since his two-month break from Dec. to Feb. He needed the Risen Star, where he was beaten only 3 1/4 lengths, and took a huge step forward in the Louisiana Derby, which put him on an upward spiral. He did extremely well on his early heart scans as a yearling, which no doubt has helped him bounce back race after race. After he vanned from Fair Grounds to Churchill they had to breeze him a half five days later because he was feeling so good. This is your true dark horse who will fly in under the radar.


Rydilluc Gary ContessaClick Here!

Medaglia d'Oro—Swift and Classy, by Clever Trick

Been waiting for him to work and he appeared to put in a useful drill at Keeneland, but who knows what’s a good work over that track? He has two major hurdles to get over – Polytrack and then dirt. So even if he runs big in the Blue Grass against a large, talented field and makes it into the Derby, you still don’t know what he’ll do at Churchill. Yes, he ran poorly in his only dirt try, but it was his career debut and supposedly he lost it in the paddock, being exposed to something new. But now that he’s matured, those problems apparently are behind him. I have him on here for a simple reason – I just feel there is something special about him. Of course, that is based on his grass races and I’m obviously guessing his talent will translate to other surfaces (He definitely is bred for the dirt). If it doesn’t we’ll know next week and he can go back to the grass. But if it does….


Lines of Battle Aidan O'Brien

War Front—Black Speck, by Arch

Again stepping out of the box and going against final times, considering his about 1 3/16 miles in 2:02.05 in the UAE Derby was incredibly slow and that he’s never been on dirt. But there was something visually impressive about his race. Putting a watch on the race and the World Cup, he came home his final quarter and three-sixteenths four-fifths slower than Animal Kingdom (:25 1/5 final quarter and :19 2/5), which actually is pretty solid, considering the UAE Derby was his first start beyond a mile and he defeated the first four finishers of the 1 3/16-mile Al Bastakiya. Despite the deep, laboring track, over a distance well beyond the farthest he’d ever run, and not having raced in almost five months, he was able to turn back the challenge of Elleval on his inside and actually was drawing away at the end. And I love the fact his dam is a half-sister to Dynaformer and traces to one of Darby Dan’s foundation mares Golden Trail. Also from this family are grade I dirt horses Brian’s Time and Darby Creek Road. It’s a longshot, but in a seemingly wide-open year like this you might as well take a stab, and you have to admire O’Brien’s persistence in trying to win the Derby. Master of Hounds did run huge in 2011, finishing fifth, beaten only 5 1/4 lengths.

Knocking At The Door

You can’t say I’m not persistent when it comes to PALACE MALICE. No, I’m not crazy about having to bring him back in two weeks to run over Polytrack in a full field in order to try to get enough Derby points, but I will stick with him just in case the Royal Anthem grass influence comes out in the Blue Grass. He certainly deserves the chance after his horrid trip at Fair Grounds. The firm belief here is that he desperately needed the Risen Star, having had only one seven-furlong allowance race in almost seven months, and his Louisiana Derby was a complete toss after a nightmarish trip in which he was blocked in traffic throughout most of the stretch run. Who knows, maybe he’s not as good I think, but he at least deserves a shot to prove it one way or the other. There also is a possibility he could wait for the Lexington Stakes if his connections feel those 20 points added to the 10 he already has will be enough to get him in the Derby. I feel the Arkansas Derby, with a much smaller and likely weaker field and on dirt, would suit him far better, especially with 18 horses trying to get in the Blue Grass and several horses destined to draw terrible posts.

Rounding out the list of contenders, in addition to the brilliant, but inexperienced Sunland Derby winner GOVENOR CHARLIE and the vastly improved Spiral winner BLACK ONYX, are some live horses who could make a big leap after next weekend. They are WILL TAKE CHARGE (who had been No. 12 for the past several weeks), JAVA’S WAR (who needs only to duplicate his Tampa Bay Derby performance to emerge as solid contender), UNCAPTURED (who should improve big-time off his Spiral second, going 1 1/8 miles off a four-month layoff), OVERANALYZE (whose form was boosted by Normandy Invasion, and who is looking to rebound off a disappointing effort in the Gotham), DEN’S LEGACY (who is always right there against the best), DYNAMIC SKY (who has a great deal of potential), FALLING SKY (who ran deceptively good in his two races at Tampa), WEST HILLS GIANT (the pacesetting runner-up in the Gotham), DEWEY SQUARE (who is looking to find his form from last year’s Kentucky Jockey Club), the steadily improving Santa Anita maiden winner FOOTBRIDGE, and NOBLE TUNE (who is looking to transfer his turf form to the synthetic). You can make a case for any of these horses.


Leave a Comment:


Great list Steve, I'm jumping on the War Academy band wagon a little early, but I feel he is ready for some big time races here soon. I'm starting to like Black Onyx more and more now, I love his pedigree and so far his sire and broodmare sire's average winning distance is higher than anyone else in the derby field. Goldencents ran a dynamite race, but I can't vision him getting 10F, not saying it's impossible, just difficult to project.

08 Apr 2013 2:48 PM

I really like the way you talk about the horses. It is almost on a very personal level, and I appreciate that writing style.

Sidenote: I like what you have written about "Rydilluc." I also believe there is something special about him...but, I may also be biased because I am a "Clever Trick" fan.

08 Apr 2013 3:00 PM
The Deacon

Interesting placements of your top 12 Steve. I don't necessarily agree with you but that is the nature of horse racing. Someone has to be on top I suppose. All these winning times of over 1:50 and change for 9 furlongs leads me to believe that these horses are just not that impressive. But this is what we have to work with so lets all just make the best of it.

Because of his impressive performance in the Santa Anita Derby I am putting Goldencents #1. His time of 1:47 and change was excellent. O'Neil knows how to bring a horse up to the Derby. He did it remarkably well last year with I'll Have Another.

I still like Govenor Charlie at #2 assuming he makes the Derby. Steve you are right though, it would be challenging for a horse to win after racing only 3 times. We know horses have done it running 4 times, Big Brown and Animal Kingdom.

The new norm perhaps is to throw every conventional method out the window.

Also until I see it with my own 2 eyes I am not picking a Wood Memorial winner to win the Derby. I know Verrazano is highly regarded but his 1:50 and change time was just not very impressive. Same with Orb and Revolutionary. I am picking Oxbow next, never count out a Lukas horse.

Flashback now off the Derby trail but I think there will be other defections coming. Wouldn't mind seeing one of the top fillies run but new points system doesn't favor it.

I still believe that in today's Derby handicapping conventional wisdom gets thrown out the window.

Good luck to all.........

08 Apr 2013 3:12 PM

Congrats (Collfax)Coldfacts you did it again like I thought you would.Mr Palmer finished 4th in the Wood which makes it 3,maybe 3 in a row that your pick has finished 4th.

Ditto for the Spiral and the Florida Derby.

You think you gotta nother one in you,the next one is the most important because if you can key only one colt in a position of the superfecta you have a better chance of hitting it not being part of a syndicate, but just a single horseplayer with a limited bankroll for such a risky wager in a 20 horse field.

08 Apr 2013 3:14 PM

On the topic of Beyers and rationality just a quick comparison: Goldenscents 105

         Govenor Charlie 95

08 Apr 2013 3:16 PM

As regards Vyjack - I could be wrong, but I can think of another horse that finished 3rd in the Wood (not looking at all like a world beater that day) & then requiring antibiotics.  Maybe history will (sort of) repeat itself 40 years on!

08 Apr 2013 3:20 PM


I like you high ranking for War Academy. Even though it was in an allowance and against four other horses, his last effort was impressive. The breeding for the distance is as good as any of the contenders.

Normandy Invasion--Did you know that the last Derby winner who wasn't first or second (or 2 lengths or closer to the leader) at the stretch call of the final prep was Ferdinand? Not only was Normandy Invasion third and 3 lengths back in his last, he was even further back in the Risen Star.

Verrazano--I don't like the slow fractions of the Wood. Try to find a slower race that a Derby winner came out of. Also, his BSFs are declining since his 105 in a GP allowance.

I like your top two of Revolutionary and Orb. In addition to watching War Academy on Saturday, I'll be looking closely at Uncaptured and Overanalyzed.

08 Apr 2013 3:28 PM


Since you have started your Derby Dozen list you've had 3 horses in you top position.  Violence, Itsmyluckyday and Revolutionary.  Guess what they all have in common?  They all got beat by Orb.  You continue to say Orb is too slow and not fast enough but you know what he keeps beating the best horses.  Maybe he just runs as fast as he needs to for the win.  Revolutionary is a very good horse but the way he breaks will be his doom in the Derby. Orb has done his best work on a speed favoring surface so sky is the limit at Churchill.  I think you're sleeping on this one Steve.

This is Shugs year, I can feel it.

08 Apr 2013 3:29 PM

If Palace Malice gets in watch out. Female jock wins Derby.

08 Apr 2013 3:35 PM

I, too, was wondering why Palace Malice isn't going to Arkansas.  In a way, he has Revolutionaryitus, getting into bad spots, so why not take him to a smaller field & dirt?

Verrazano seems like a kid playing flag football.  He lets you get just close enough to get the flag & then he pulls away.  Can you train a horse to run a 12 clip for a mile & 1/4 because that's what I'd train him to do.  Odds are, that would win & he seems capable of doing it.

The more I think about Orb & his unimpressive times, the more I'm thinking he hasn't spent much effort doing it which means he may be sitting on more upside than the rest of these horse & I can't ignore him beating Violence.  Where Revolutionary  may have an advantage over Orb is, if they got into a dog fight, would Orb accept that challenge?

I really hope for a big day from War Academy.  I love all the Big Red influence.  

Steve, that's pretty bold putting him at #7 but I love it!

08 Apr 2013 3:37 PM
Rusty Weisner

The Delta Downs Jackpot has now produced three Derby horses.

08 Apr 2013 3:41 PM

I wouldn't be surprised to see something big come from Dewey Square plus he's shown he can run at Churchill, 1 1/16th, easily coming home the final 1/16th in 6.32 and the previous 1/4 in 24.75 and that was 6 months ago.

08 Apr 2013 3:53 PM
Indiana Johnny

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, two more to go and pay attention to the work outs, especially the w/o's at CD, and the back-track talk.

(1) Orb...pedigree, trainer, and liked his last race.

(2)Goldenscents...can't resist the big beyer jump maybe at the right time.

(3) Uncaptured...going out on a limb a little maybe, but he has beat Javas war, overanaylyze, and will take charge.Last race was 1'st off long layoff.We'll see in the Bluegrass.

(4)War academy...Giant causeway..Baffert..98..and it seems maybe somebody will step up and run a big wow race, or is it just an average bunch.

(5)Itsmyluckyday....I could see him bouncing off the two big beyers, can he rebound on a different track?

(6) Normandy Invasion...closed out the last part of the race fast, may be improving at the right time. Watch the workouts, especially the workouts at CD.

(7)Revolutionary...pedigree...erratic speed ratings.

(8) Dens his all every race.

(9) Javas War...2'nd. in comeback, may improve.

(10) Black Onyx...allready at CD working out.

08 Apr 2013 3:54 PM

steve-i agree with your comments on war academy. i also think if he doesn't bounce off his last race he won't bounce in the derby. he could be the nicest looking horse to run yet. hope he rates closer to the lead then have enough to blow by in the stretch. this is baffert's best chance to win the derby. needs this win to get off the seconditis.

08 Apr 2013 3:58 PM
Mister Frisky

Hi Steve,Twenty Six days out and its still Shug and Lukas for me.Oxbow gets whatever he needs this weekend,doesn't need to win.Orb is a standout pedigree wise and foundation wise as well.Times aren't flashey but i don't think this Derby goes sub 2:02 anyway.Barring injury I will key these two with Normany Invasion and some bombs underneath in the tri and super.

08 Apr 2013 3:59 PM
Rusty Weisner

They assigned a Beyer of 105 to Goldencents.  I'm skeptical.  Final time was 1:48.76 and IHA had 1:47.88 for a Beyer of 101 last year.  

It's good, though.  Goldencents will take a lot of money.

Verrazano got 95.  It tracks with Vyjack's string of 93's.

I didn't like Normandy Invasion from first impression, as Verrazano beat him comfortably, but he improved in a significant respect:  he was up closer to the pace than previously, and that was despite a little trouble at the start.

08 Apr 2013 4:10 PM

steve-castellano will let us know the better horse(revolutionary or normandy)wait and see. i would pick revolutionary. seems like i played boston harbor(normany's dam sire) in "sprints" when he raced at saratoga years ago. rev's breeding is better for distance. i bet his mom(runup the colors) in the alabama years ago at saratoga when she won.

08 Apr 2013 4:10 PM

Hi Steve,

I have to say, I like your list, and for the most part agree with it.  This year's KY Derby trail has been a real roller coaster ride. This week was no exception.  I was beyond excited & happy when Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby, making Kevin Krigger the first Black jockey to win the race, and bringing a second Santa Anita Derby win in a row to trainer Doug O'Neill, who won it last year w/KY Derby & Preakness Stakes winner, I'll Have Another.  I love that Doug opens doors for relatively unknown jockeys (on a national level) that show promise and talent, putting them on the top horses in his barn.  That generosity paid off for all involved last year with Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another, and this year for Kevin Krigger on Goldencents.  Kevin broke a glass ceiling Saturday and is heading toward his dream of riding in the Kentucky Derby.  And what a great time for Rick Pitino and the city of Louisville.  Pitino's horse, Goldencents, wins the SA Derby, while his college basketball team, the Cardinals, came from behind to beat Wichita State and enter the Championship game against Michigan; the Louisville Women's Basketball team is also in the Women's Championship Game against powerhouse UCONN; and the biggest event of every year in Louisville, the Kentucky Derby, is less than one month away.  Mr. Pitino has the magic touch right now.

The roller coaster hit a hair-pin turn in the injury to John Velazquez.  That might have a shake-up effect on the KY Derby. Mr. Velazquez's injuries suffered this weekend might effect his being able to ride Verrazano, and opens the gate for another jockey who is still available to gain a major catch ride just as Velazquez did on Animal Kingdom in 2011.  I never thought Johnny V. was ever going to stay on Orb for the KY Derby.  I've always thought he would stay with Verrazano because of his relationship with Todd Pletcher, so I've told people that would open up a HUGE opportunity for another lucky jockey to grab the Derby catch ride on Orb.  Gary Stevens is still available.  Gary might have his choice of KY Derby mounts, if he wishes.  I can't imagine a 3-time KY Derby winning jockey will have a hard time convincing an owner/trainer team to put him on their top contending Derby horse! - LOL.  There are several other KY Derby winning jockeys out there who are available right now (including Mario Gutierrez, last year's KY Derby's winning jock, and multi-KY Derby winners Kent Desormeaux and Calvin Borel).  They might be lucky enough to grab the mounts on Orb & Verrazano if Johnny V.'s injuries prove to be nagging ones as the Derby nears.  Flashback being removed from the KY Derby trail is also a part of the KY Derby roller coaster, as the injuries pile up on the KY Derby trail, as they always do this time of year.

Last year, I went into KY Oaks/KY Derby weekend with three top fillies on my list to key in my bets in the Oaks - being led by Believe You Can; and five horses to key in the KY Derby to key in my bets - with I'll Have Another leading the way in all of my Derby bets.  I was very fortunate last year to do well in both races, also playing, and winning, the KY Oaks/KY Derby Daily Double for the first time ever.

This year, I am heading into the KY Oaks with four fillies on my list, and into the KY Derby with a hot six colts on my list to key in bets, which might change to a record ever high of seven colts for me, depending on what happens in the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass.  I have never had that many colts on my KY Derby list ever, that's how level this playing field has become in the last six months.  Last year, although the 20 horses entered in the KY Derby were incredibly superior racers, my top pick was very easy - IHA, and I was totally certain about the four other horses I had with him.  This year, the horses are a superior group once again, but there are four top horses tied as my No. 1, not one like I had last year.  I'm having lots of fun sorting all this out, though!  It's concerning to me that Vyjack bled after the Wood.  I hope things improve for him as we march toward the KY Derby starting gate.

Once again, great list, Steve.  This 20 horse field, like 2012's KY Derby, is going to be LOADED with incredible talent.  I'm excited to see them all in action May 4th!

08 Apr 2013 4:19 PM
Kyle S.


I asked last week your thoughts on War Academy, and I understood your "wait and see" approach as to see how he runs at Oaklawn this Saturday.  Also with the defections of Flashback and Shanghai Bobby, there were some openings in this week's "Dozen"  With that being said, I'm right there with you out in left field as I truly have a feeling that we've only scratched the surface with this colt.  Given his connections, breeding, & tactical running style, really the only kncok on him would be his foundation.  Even with that small question mark against him, lack of seasoning has become more of the norm than in years past, so I'm expecting big things this Saturday and also on May 4th.

08 Apr 2013 4:42 PM
Linda in Texas

Only have to pack 1 bag Steve. I thought you would have Verrazano at 1 and Orb at 2. But as you said, no need to move Revolutionary.

Your words are so true about the Derby trail being a crapshoot. It is any horse's for the asking if it is their day!! (if the track is fast? - sloppy?- - if if if???

Johnny V thank goodness you weren't left on the track yesterday! You will heal quickly. Rib will hurt more than the wrist.

Wrapped tight enough i know you will be riding in The Kentucky Derby. Heal quickly and take a breather from riding for a month!!

Tips from a broken 'ribber' and 'wrister'! :(

08 Apr 2013 4:43 PM

Gotta go with Carving.

While he may not have hit the board within living memory, at some point during his races I always have a feeling he's going to win.

That's good enough for me. Too bad it doesn't get any points.


08 Apr 2013 5:06 PM
It aint easy being good!

I like the list the only problem I have with it. Govener Charlie runs the fastest prep of them all and cant even get a sentence from steve come on man!

08 Apr 2013 5:12 PM

All I can say is "boooooooooy howdy!  I can only imagine how strong the comments will be this week!"

08 Apr 2013 5:14 PM

Code West was knocked out of the running. That leaves Uncaptured the only one left of my remaining two. I'm also warming up to Black Onyx. I'm sure I am being laughed at for thinking Uncaptured and Black Onyx for the top spot, but hey, stranger things have happened.

08 Apr 2013 5:20 PM

I think Mylute is a good call for promotion.

This whole season has been about watching lightly raced, growing boys find their balance and step up a few levels. It surprises me that anyone remains skeptical when it happens.

Palace Malice? Loyalty is a rare and wonderful trait in a man.

08 Apr 2013 5:21 PM
thunder gulch

I think one of the two lukas horses are gonna bite a lot of bettors in the butt. there are no real stand outs. the times arn't fast. lukas will be in the winners circle with oxbow or will take charge. sun glasses and a big smile

08 Apr 2013 5:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Good list Steve and well seasoned. Mama Mia, that's a spicy a meatball. Obviously it's tough to narrow it down to 12 at this point with two big races to come, and the possibility of number one coming out of one of them. There are no monsters yet. I did like Verrazano's Wood quite a bit. Any list will have stabs and bias incorporated now, but after this next weekend it will be time to get more serious. Looks like a tough year so far to pick a winner.

1. Revolutionary

2. Oxbow

3. Orb

4. Verrazano

5. Lines of Battle

6. Java's War

7. Itsmyluckyday

8. Will Take Charge

9. Uncaptured

10. Vyjack

11.Normandy Invasion

12. 3-Way Yie-Texas Bling, Carve, Mylute

08 Apr 2013 5:50 PM
Pedigree Ann

Who has finished close to Goldencents and Violence and Oxbow in 3 of the his last 4 starts? (he was second to Flashback but not close in the other). Den's Legacy, the horse who keeps on coming. If there in a Giacomo in this field to exploit a pace meltdown, he is the one.

08 Apr 2013 6:05 PM
Luis Triana


Great insight as usual...

War Academy is inbred to Gay Missile not Missile Belle but I agree he might be the underdog we all love

08 Apr 2013 6:06 PM

Interesting list as usual, Steve.  But I'll probably disagree with some choices when I post my list...later.

For now, I just wanted to let everyone, that was not Lava Man taking Goldencents to post on Saturday.  And Lava Man will not be escorting him to Kentucky.

According to the O'Neill team, the Coach and Goldencents have similar personalities and do not play well together.  Since we've seen what a fire-brand Lava Man (the Coach) can be, I guess the clash just makes double trouble.

I'm really disappointed. (Why else was I rooting for Goldencents...other than that he's very good.)

08 Apr 2013 6:18 PM

Orb 3/1

Revolutionary 7/2

Verrazano 4/1

Goldenscents 15/1

Vyjack 18/1

All the rest 25/1 or higher

The big "3" and everybody else!

08 Apr 2013 6:20 PM
Sail On

Watching Verrazano run, he is so graceful, but powerful all at once. he seems to fly over the track. I cannot but love him to win.

I don't agree he hasn't been tested by speed horses, he just runs right past them, early on. And keeps going.

Looks to me that Verrazano is as much of a speed horse as any others in the Derby field. I think he won't care there are twenty horses in the field, he won't see but a few of them. I see him dashing out of the gate and heading for the front. The only thing we don't know about him is how far he can run before the distance does get to him. 2 miles, I am thinking?

08 Apr 2013 6:36 PM

There is no way I can leave War Academy out of the mix.  His pedigree is quite remarkable.  Thank you, Doug Branham,for your thoughtful breeding of this horse.  He is loaded with stamina and some speed to go along with it.  I could go on and on, delving into War Academy's pedigree, but I won't.

Revolutionary, Black Onyx, Itsmyluckyday, and War Academy, all have the pedigrees to run all day long. Orb, Normandy Invasion, and Verrazano; I don't know.

Revolutionary is still my favorite.      

08 Apr 2013 6:47 PM

Revolutionary, War Academy, and Black Onyx are my favorites.

08 Apr 2013 6:50 PM
Mike from Michigan

Steve!  No love for Govenor Charlie?  I think he is a live one for the derby.  The team of Baffert and Pegram has been lethal before, I think GC has a real chance for the roses.  

08 Apr 2013 6:58 PM

Yes, I remember Manando, War Academy blew him away, and the fractions were fast.

08 Apr 2013 7:03 PM
Steve Haskin

First off, sorry for the back-up. I got tied up with a story and no one posted the comments.

Thanks regarding Gay Missile. I keep interchanging them. It's been fixed.

As for Govenor Charlie, I had mentioned him and when I was shifting horses to and from the Top 12, his name and comment inadvertently got cut. I have since added it. Although Baffert thinks he's his best horse right now, the 3 career starts is a big concern to me, especially beating a poor field at Sunland. He will be a very good horse, but this is a tall task.

As for Orb, I merely pointed out that his times havent stacked up against the other times on that same day, but did add he still has improvement in him. Ranking him #2 is not exactly knocking him. I would love him to win the Derby ofr the reasons I stated. As I also said, there is so little separating these horses, its nitpicking to harp on one placing either way.

08 Apr 2013 7:29 PM

Great job Steve.  It is so hard to discern all these evenly talented colts this year.  I was going to put Verrazano first but reconsidered it and have Revolutionary there.  I still have ItsMyLuckyDay at 4th, still believing that he ran great for the long layoff.  I really liked Verrazano's Wood performance.  When Verrazano got back to the Pletcher barn after the race he nickered at stable bud Revolutionary saying, "Hey Rev, ya think I racked up enough damn points for Toddy today!?"

Goldencents was no surprise to me.  The colt has been in my radar early on in Steve's blogs.  I noted his consistency and progression a few Dozens ago so I expected his win.  Goldencents is owned in part by Rick Pitino, the Lousiville bb coach.  RAP Racing, which I did not know, is named after Pitino.  And I must say here that I hope that young man he coaches that had that horrific leg injury is ok and heals quickly and is on the mend.  I guess Pitino has run the gamut of emotions lately, losing that player and having a Kentucky Derby entrant. I remember when he coached here back east.  

Black Onyx, or his connections, have done something I think is smart - early arrivals at Churchill.  I was saying in the Dubai article Steve wrote that early arrivals in Dubai for sure are essential but I am all for early arrivals even at Churchill seeing how "cuppy" and deep the track appears to get.  Wonder how Black Onyx is getting over the surface?

I still love what Steve said about Revolutionary that he can "bull his way around horses."  In that 20 horse field couple that skill with a little luck and maybe he's got it.  

08 Apr 2013 7:30 PM

War Academy has more Secretariat blood running through his veins than any other horse that I can think of in the last 2 or 3 decades.

08 Apr 2013 7:54 PM

This is on the same thread of reason that a prominent poster on this blog wrote about Pletcher and winning the Wood twice in a row and losing the Derby.

D ONeil joned an exclusive club in winning the SA Derby twice in a row,if you look at that list of trainers none of them won the Derby in either year of those two SA derby winners.That list includes Baffert and Lucas.

08 Apr 2013 8:02 PM

Vjack ran a great Saturday but I think down the road he will be a great turf horse.

Who is going to be the speed in the Derby?  There are no Trinnibergs this year.

08 Apr 2013 8:19 PM


Respectfully disagree with your odds.  I think Goldencents will be one of the favorites (5-1).  Not because of ability but because of the Pitino factor.  Think Calvin Borel and first female jockey in the Derby rolled into one.  Pitino is huge in Louisville and will draw a lot of betting based off his name alone.  Which is perfect because I think Goldencents is a bet against and it will improve odds for the others.

08 Apr 2013 8:22 PM

Another data point from the What are you talking about school of thought.

Verrazano ran the Wood in what is considered a very slow time of 1.50.27

In 2010 Eskendereya ran it in a time of 1.49.97 the differences in their times 33 hundredths of a second.

Eskendereya was a wow horse that never made it to the race so what does that make Verrazano.

08 Apr 2013 8:24 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Goldencents should know that he can't win the Derby without Lava Man coaching him. Goldencents should be getting down on his hands and knees and begging Lava Man to accompany him. Darn fool kid. I loved Annette Funicello since I was knee high to a grass hopper. The battle against MS is over now but she will always live in the hearts of us Mickey Mouse Club and Disney movie and Beach Party fans. Such a sweetheart.

08 Apr 2013 8:50 PM
Eddie S.

Hey, Haskin. Fantastic list. I always love reading opinions on these colts.

Goldencents was no surprise whatsoever to me. I had him $20 to win in the Santa Anita Derby, and confidently too.

On a different website (Horse Racing Nation) I pointed out several flaws of him after his Sham Stakes win. Remember how he would not rate? Tugging at Krigger? Pulling at Krigger? In the stretch, his head lugged to the right? He refused to switch leads? I told everyone on HRN, WHEN he matures, look out!

In the San Felipe, the colt again failed to relax and burned himself out in a speed dual. He lugged a sign of tiredness.

In the Santa Anita Derby, he got right to pressing position (2nd, right off) and he RELAXED. Krigger had a strong tug on him reserving energy, and he showed maturity by NOT TUGGING and not fighting with Krigger. In the stretch, he lugged a little bit, but Krigger got him to focus. He switched leads much faster than he did in the Sham. He got a taste of a big crowd, and he was calm in the winner's circle and in the paddock and post parade. I encourage all fellow horse players to watch these races back to back to back. Watch the sham, then San Felipe and finally the Santa Anita Derby. This is not the same horse that won the Sham Stakes. He is a new improved and more mature colt. Currently, he is #2 on my list.

#1 on my list is Orb. As you said he does everything right, and I love his connections. As a fellow poster said, he's beaten Violence, Revolutionary and Itsmyluckyday...

Now, my list is crazy, but as the ESPN commercial says "It's only crazy if it doesn't work."....

#1 Orb- (see above note)

#2 Goldencents- (see above note)

#3 Verrazano- He hasn't tasted a 46 and 1:10 pace yet, but overall he ran a good race in the Wood. His internal fractions were faster each time. Lack of conditioning is in the ways, and he has yet to taste a hot pace.

#4 Palace Malice- Like you, I really like him. I dislike the Bluegrass decision, but I love the colt. He has fire inside of him and he is still green. He had no where to go in the LA Derby. Very solid colt worth keeping an eye on... He might be a huge underlay on Derby Day.

That is my watch list, but it might expand.... Good luck to all, enjoy the upcoming preps!

08 Apr 2013 8:56 PM


The #1 horse on your list shouldn't be so disputable after seeing the prep races. I think that its more reasonable to put your sentimental choice just below the ones that have obviously shown more on the track subject to pedigree considerations of course. Revolutionary, like Creative Cause last year does not merit the #1 spot IMO. You were also reluctant to promote Itsmyluckyday while he was the obvious #1 colt ...I don't get your rationale some times. Both Verrazano and Orb have done more than Revolutionary. The latter does have tremendous upside, I agree, mostly based on pedigree and readiness for a stretch battle but my thinking is that he'll more likely than the others, have traffic problems in the Derby, be at the mercy of the pace scenario (with speed horses being blocked by the points system) and may only get up for a share of the minor places but be loaded with a ton of excuses at the end of the contest.

Here are my top guns: 1)Verrazano 2)Will Take Charge 3)Itsmyluckyday 4)Rydilluc 5)Overanalyze 6)Orb 7)Normandy Invasion 8)Oxbow 9)Revolutionary 10)Govenor Charlie 11)Java's War 12)Noble Tune

The Bluegrass is very intersting to me this year as a couple of really nice colts are trying to book their ticket there and could shake things up a bit. Its very interesting that Noble Tune is quietly creeping up to the Derby, presumably with a lot of care due to being a son of Unbridled's Song (brittle legs syndrome). If he does get in and remains sound, I guarantee that he'll definitely be a major contender come May 4, 2013.

08 Apr 2013 9:03 PM

I can't argue with the Top 3; IMO, these colts are interchangeable.  I'm not so sure about Normandy Invasion at #4; somehow I just can't see a Tapit winning the Derby.

Coldfacts; in answer to your question to me on the 4/2 list comments, the relevance is Verrazano doesn't yet know how to lose. Until a horse loses, his potential is unlimited.  At this point, we don't know how much more V has to give as he has always done enough to win.

08 Apr 2013 9:11 PM

Steve :  Like your comments about Mylute.  I'm actually surprised that he got up on your list.  I've liked him for quite some time now, I thought a jockey change was what he needed but looks like it was the blinkers off that did the trick.  I'll be happy if he duplicates his LA Derby run in the big dance, even if it doesn't win the race.

I'm really missing out on this Rydilluc horse as I still can't see how he's getting mentions.  I thought he was all out to beat Charming Kitten.   I guess I'll find out Saturday.  I'm anxious to see Uncaptured, like your comments about him too, he's my derby horse if he makes it.

Looks like 30 points might be enough to make the least I'm hoping hehe.

08 Apr 2013 9:23 PM
El Kabong


Like Revolutionary on top for now. Proven on different tracks and looks ready for the extra panel. That said, Mylute has to be on the short list for his performance especially if he takes to CD. Let's talk some speed and stalk. Goldencents is peaking at the right time and he may have his way up front. There are a number right now who like being up there but I don't think any will challenge him for the lead.  Verrazano, It's My Lucky Day, Oxbow, Governor C, Merit Man have all enjoyed it up front but they haven't faced a horse who can stretch his rapid pace 9f's they way Gcents did and I'm sure they'll be instructed not to test that theory. The Stalker.  Uncaptured(who must prove me right Sat. with a good effort in the BG which will be a great race) looks to be the professional stalker. All things considered, time off and injury,  his effort in Spiral was very impressive. With 3 weeks of healthy training, he should be loaded for bear. If he moves forward and fights to the finish,  I will be sleepless in Seattle until May 4th.  If he doesn't, it will be due to Will Take Charge who will also run in BG. He's a talented stalker who could spoil it for many. Still like Java's War as THE dark horse who figures to go along with the closing Mylute as prime upset and super fillers, but I think Java will relish the distance more than any. If he gets a clean trip, OHHHHH CANADA! But, he has to hit the board in the BG first. His last appearance at Keeneland was compromised by a squeeze in the lane. I hope Willy has better luck maneuvering that crowd. This is really getting fun. Looking forward to this weekend, but wish some of the talent was over at Arkansas. Too much talent in Keeneland that needs to achieve and one that doen't but probably will((WTC). Lenny's pony tail must be twitching and flipping with an AP Indy looking so good this close to the Derby:)

08 Apr 2013 9:42 PM
Fran Loszynski

Sad for Flashback out of Derby but hat is in for Normandy Invasion.  He is a son of Tapit nuf said.and of course Gainesway home of AfleetAlex Go Gainesway ...Let's Invade The Derby

08 Apr 2013 9:52 PM
El Kabong

From Kelso to Eclipse,

Well said about Goldencents. He has figured it out and his timing is perfect. He may get the lead in the Derby and handle it fine or he may sit off, but he has learned to cruise and relax, very difficult. He's much improved and in good, make that very good hands.

08 Apr 2013 9:56 PM

1.  Mylute

    Coming along at exactly the right time.

2.  Verrazano

    His Wood effort looked easy to me.  Fresh horse?  Love the Giant Causeway.

3.  Palace Malice

    If he gets in.  Basically a fresh horse.

4.  Lines of Battle

    Maybe not a Animal Kingdom but love the breeding.  Spectacular trainer everywhere.

5.  Orb

    The right connections.

6.  Revolutionary

    Tried and true.  Hard races though.

7.  War Academy

     Close to perfect breeding.  Never count out Baffert.

8.  Oxbow

    Never count out Lukas.

9.  Black Onyx

    Just like him.

10. Dynamic Sky

     Good as any.

08 Apr 2013 10:04 PM
Saratoga AJ

Liked him back in November after the Remsen, bet him in the futures and have no reason to change my mind now. Great name too....Normandy Invasion.

08 Apr 2013 10:11 PM

Hi Steve,

Just wondered if you are going to do a column on the fillies. With Beholder, Dreaming of Julia and now Emollient,the Oaks is starting to look pretty interesting.

08 Apr 2013 10:14 PM
The Pope

Vyjack could very well be the sleeper in the derby. If you watch the replay he ran just as fast as Verrazano from a positional standpoint. Past the wire first time Verrazano had a one or two length lead on Vyjack only because Rosario wanted to reserve some of his energy. Near the stretch Rosario had asked his horse for run but the only problem was Verrazano had a lot left and was making his run at the same time. Gotta give Vyjack credit for coming up a length short at the wire. Thinking the derby could be a different story especially if the pace is fast!

08 Apr 2013 10:59 PM

Looks like a good Superfecta with your top 4. But Orb has already beaten Revolutionary.

08 Apr 2013 11:11 PM

Foe the second one of my picks, where is Dynamic Sky running next?  He's gonna need to win big time for the points, isn't he?

09 Apr 2013 12:20 AM

"War Academy has more Secretariat blood running through his veins than any other horse that I can think of in the last 2 or 3 decades." [Mary]

Secretariat's last crop was 1990 and contained Tinners Way, who raced long and well enough that you might be able to think of him.

09 Apr 2013 3:24 AM
The Deacon

Dr. D:  Interesting list, I would have thought for sure you would have had at least one west coast runner on your list. Maybe with Flashback and Hear the Ghost off the Derby trail you don't feel strong enough about Goldencents.

Unfortunately I feel we will have more defections before its over.

Young 3 year olds just aren't as sound as they were years past. I always keep asking myself, why is that? I really wish studies could be done so we can come up with an answer. So far we've lost Violence, Hear the Ghost, Flashback, Shanghai Bobby and anyone else I may have omitted.

09 Apr 2013 3:52 AM

Giant’s Causeway is one of the most overbred stallions in the US and of his 4-5 Derby starters none have hit the board.

Curative Cause was by far his best prospect.

War Academy is nice Giant's Causeway colt. He was produce from one of the 194 mares bred by Giant's Causeway in 2009.

Base on his sire’s record I would avoid this colt if he makes the Derby.

I hope he exist the AK Derby sound.  

09 Apr 2013 4:37 AM


My selection for the Bluegrass is obviously Footbridge. He must be worth something as he got mentioned by Mr. Haskin.  

At Hollywood Park, he worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 in preparation for the Bluegrass. He is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Wednesday.

Footbridge races without Lasix and consequently is always at a disadvantage to the high tech horses. His ability is not in doubt but his connections need to administer the drug and level the playing field..

Despite his disadvantage, I think the synthetic surface can prove to be an equalizer. The distance of the Bluegrass, will suite him immensely. He has tactical speed and has the stamina to kick home. He appears to be the speed in the field and I am very optimistic.

09 Apr 2013 4:49 AM

There have been several comments on the advantage to Black Onyx of shipping early to Churchill to get plenty of work on the track, or the impossibility of making a final decision without seeing how the contenders work over the track.

It does not seem to follow, for some reason, that people are giving Uncaptured credit for being 2/2 in graded stakes over that track.

09 Apr 2013 4:53 AM

Science is on the side of modern training at sub-race speeds. But the modern schooling seems to leave out a lot of basics for no good reason.

A trainer who shall be nameless was quoted recently as saying "You never know if they'll split horses until they're out there racing."

If you don't know if your horse will split horses, return him to his training facility and demand that they finish breaking him.

Splitting horses is eminently teachable and should be part of every young horse's mornings.

09 Apr 2013 5:00 AM
Matt Converse

Welcome aboard the War Academy train, Steve, we've been expecting you.  Hold on tight, the next stop is gonna be a doozy!  

1. War Academy--I expect a tour de force in the Arkansas Derby.  I loved his huge improvement in his second start, and I like his pedigree for continued improvement.  He's better bred for 10f than any of these. But first, he must be fast enough to beat Oxbow.  If Den's Legacy beats him too, he's out and deservedly so.  Its' now or never.

2. Normandy Invasion--I liked his closing kick and loved his gallop out, tipping his hand for the Derby.  The Tapit (AP Indy-Unbridled) on top is solid, but Boston Harbor isn't the greatest for stamina. Visually, he convinced me that he can go the distance.

3. Verrazano--he finished pretty strong, but should it have been stronger given the stroll in the park early? Still, he didn't fold when challenged and won away from GP.  Can he hold off the charge going anotehr furlong?  I'm not so sure.

4. Orb--his pedigree is decent enough although Cee's Tizzy awd was lower than I expected.  He's improving and look strong at the end of his races.  

5. Revolutionary--my Top 5 are all pretty close.  His sire isn't the best for pedigree but the bottom half is stamina heavy, and he runs like distance will only help.  I like this horse, isn't far from being my #1.

6. Govenor Charlie--I could see him being the longest shot amoung the horses who actually have a chance to win.  I wouldn't dismiss him.  His sire is everything I hoped he would be so far; he was a sprinter by circumstance, not pedigree.

7. Oxbow--he should be favored in the Arkansas Derby, and will be a stern test for War Academy.  

8. Will Take Charge--I love his disinctive stride, his pedigree I'm not overly crazy about but the way he finished made me think distance wouldn't be a problem.

9. Java's War--was the only horse closing on Verrazano two back, and looks a good fit for the Blue Grass.

10. Mylute--if you like Revolutionary, it's hard to discount him and wonder if perhaps he is the one improving more right now.  Hmmm.

11. Rydilluc--yet another closer but like Dullahan last year, will he like CD even if he does win the Blue Grass?

12. Black Onyx--the same can be said of him when it comes to the dirt.

13. Goldecents--great ride by the jock restraining but not strangling this headstrong horse.  He wasn't relaxed, he was contained. But he was slowing down the last 3/8ths, the Cali milers behind him were just even slower.

09 Apr 2013 5:25 AM

How fitting would it be that War Academy won not only the Derby, but went all the way to the Triple Crown in this, the 40th anniversary of Secretariat's crown, not to mention what a honor it would be for Penny Tweedy.

One can hope and dream and pray that finally a horse with so much blood of the greatest racehorse ever (IMHO) would achieve such greatness.

09 Apr 2013 5:35 AM

You guys are putting WAY too much credence in the time of the races orb only won in 150 and change compared to golden cents 147 Is just idiotic thing to say as orb would cut him half any time they meet and that is a given just diffent leagues they are in!!!! War pass has been visually impressive as well as Verrazano but I think the Cherokee run is gonna leak out somewhere as well as the more than ready for Verrazano. Time of race is irrelevant which most true horseman know

09 Apr 2013 5:44 AM

I don't think that golden cents could get 1 1/4 if you put him in a truck and trailer. His wins in California were over a conveyor belt facing horses off layoffs and an overrated tapit colt with distance limitations. He is definetky no smarty jones as his race in New York against shanghai bobby will point out. I can't see him even splitting the field on his best day . Rhydilluc should stay on the grass as a mid summer campaign could be outstanding if managed properly this 25 th hour nonsense is laughable with him

09 Apr 2013 5:53 AM
joseph alva

Pedigree Ann:

Ditto on Den's Legacy.  I hope he can make the Derby field. I also compared him to Giacomo on this blog a few weeks ago.  He is flying under the radar and will be at titanic odds for a Baffert runner if he gets in.

09 Apr 2013 6:44 AM

Iceman, do not count on Castellano to tell you whether Revolutionary is better than Normnandy Invasion. In 1964, Bill Shoemaker got off Northern Dancer (the Derby winner) to ride Hillrise, who finished 2nd, because his "instincts told" him that Hillrise was the better horse.  

09 Apr 2013 8:44 AM

After reading most of the comments it seems Verrazano isn't getting too much respect,that kind of surprises me.The horse has done everything Pletcher has asked him to do and I expect Pletcher to have him sharp as a tack on Derby day. I don't think we'll see his jock have a virtual choke hold on him like he did in the Wood or for that matter the TB Derby,I think we'll see him come out running from the gitgo and the only question will be his ability to ge

09 Apr 2013 8:57 AM

Secretariat's bloodlines hardly matter.  He was the most freakishly talented thoroughbred in the history of the sport but equally its most disappointing stud. Hard to transmit such extraordinary genes, I suppose.

09 Apr 2013 9:01 AM

I keep hearing all of these Oxbow lovers but to me he is not the best horse in Lukas's barn.  Will Take Charge is Lukas's best shot to win his 5th Derby.  His pedigree is excellent but he has no shot if it rains the 1st Saturday in May.  To me he is the sleeper longshot on a fast track.

09 Apr 2013 9:57 AM
Saratoga AJ

I really liked him after the Remsen, bet him in the futures and see no reason to change my mind at all now. Besides, love the name and my late father was a decorated veteran of...the Normandy Invasion! Going to key on him in the Derby and hope for a good trip.

I'm hoping he likes extremely bias surface. (Now

there's another angle...didn't Winston Churchill help plan the Normandy Invasion?) :)  

09 Apr 2013 10:01 AM
Rusty Weisner

From Kelso to Eclipse,

That was awfully persuasive about Goldencents and I will watch again.  The knock, from what I understand, is his pedigree.

Any horse with early speed has a natural advantage in the Derby in keeping clear of traffic.  Every year people say how much speed there is, but this year I don't see it:  there's no Bodemeister or Trinniberg.  Falling Sky may try to wire, but his pedigree is also suspect and, more importantly, he just hasn't won anything big, tires, and won't win the Bluegrass. I think Goldencents and Verrazano will have the trips they want.  I'm liking Revolutionary and Orb, but I'm leery of this speed, and I don't want to be smacking myself if Goldencents, who has run faster than the others (except for the Sunland one), ends up...running faster than the others again.  I'm thinking of another horse whose pedigree was questioned at the time, Funny Cide, who got the jump and a shorter trip than a classy opponent.

I like Revolutionary but it's a roll of the dice whether he gets out of the gate, and I like him less with an inside post.  Orb doesn't seem likely to have that issue; he won't lag at the rear of the pack.  Among off-the-pace types I prefer Orb to Normandy Invasion.

09 Apr 2013 11:07 AM
Steve Haskin

I'm surprised to read so many comments about Orb already beating Revolutionary or this horse has beaten that horse so this horse is better. That is totally meaningless, especially when youre talking about a maiden race at 2 when one horse had a terrible start. Whoever thinks that way obviously had Empire Maker over Funny Cide, Indian Charlie over Real Quiet, Buzzard's Bay over Giacomo, Line of David over Super Saver, Dominican over Street Sense. You get the picture. Beating a horse on the Derby trail or at 2 has little bearing on what's going to happen in the Derby.

09 Apr 2013 11:08 AM
Rusty Weisner

Saratoga AJ,

re: Winston Churchill.  If the British had had their way there might never have been a Normandy Invasion.

09 Apr 2013 11:09 AM
Debra Gilbert

Actually, it's the 40th Anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown wins, not of his birthday. That was 43 years ago.

09 Apr 2013 11:13 AM
Karen in Texas


Dynamic Sky is apparently going to the Blue Grass.


Hadn't thought of Tinners Way for a while! He did some good racing in California, and I was fortunate to have been able to see him in the paddock and on the track at the '95 Breeders' Cup at Belmont.

09 Apr 2013 11:14 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I'm on the same wavelength about these horses. I'd like to remind everyone you actually picked Java's War.  I'm eagerly awaiting his performance in the Bluegrass and am kind of hoping he just hits the board to get in the Derby to keep his odds long.  I'm also eager to see if they throw a changeup and make him show some speed -- I think if they ran him up near the pace it would be a sign they're confident and using the Bluegrass as a prep.  But that's kind of hypothetical, isn't it?  Anyway, it goes to one of two reservations about him (the other being dirt pedigree) -- that he's always dead last.  I am really hoping I still have reason to consider him as a win candidate -- right now he is the one longshot winner I'm considering seriously.  I think that threatening move against Verrazano off that layoff is enough to take him seriously.

I agree about Mylute.  I think he ran the race of his life and if you like Revolutionary (I do) you like him.  The knocks are pedigree and maybe that he ran the race of his life on his home field.

At one point I was very interested in Uncaptured because of his CD form but have reservations because of his delayed schedule.  But he's one I like underneath.

09 Apr 2013 11:23 AM
Rusty Weisner

Anyone have an opinion on Gary Stevens on Oxbow?

I like Oxbow, because I think he suffered from a biased surface last time.

I am going to pick against War Academy.  He has beaten competition that turned out weak (Shakin' it Up, Treasury Bill).  Maybe Baffert is grasping at straws (he sure was with those other two in the SA Derby).

I'm not sure what to do with Overanalyze.  But his return was so dull that I'm leaning towards picking against him.  Maybe he has a liver ailment.

On a similar track to the Rebel's Carve might be a good longshot underneath -- I would prefer him to the more obvious Texas Bling, who wasn't really very competitive either.  I also prefer Carve as a longshot to others like Looking Cool or Heaven's Runway.  Den's Legacy is also logical.  I was hoping for Falling Sky to try this race, but he's in the Bluegrass, which surprises me.

09 Apr 2013 11:39 AM

Mr. Haskin, you constantly refer to the 102 beyer of the 2-Year-Old Revolutionary... what´s the diference?

09 Apr 2013 11:59 AM
Rusty Weisner

Matt Converse,

I like your lists.

I liked Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby last year because he had Baffert, blazing speed, fast times and figs, and a favorable surface and short stretch at Oaklawn.

I'm going to roll the dice and bet against War Academy.  The only thing I see going for him here is Baffert, and that's not enough this year.  The surface seems different this year, too, not a good fit for Baffert's usual types.

09 Apr 2013 12:04 PM
Rusty Weisner

In my time enjoying this game the only one to wire was War Emblem, but I think his connections got away with that because everyone else was spooked by the pace from the previous year, won by a deep closer. War Emblem had a 120 Beyer in the Illinois Derby, the fastest of any entrant.

Pace in the Derby, like everything else, obviously, is hard to predict, but my predictions for horses in the first flight are Falling Sky, Verrazano, Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday, Govenor Charlie.  If Falling Sky or some other implausible winner is loose on the lead I think those other four are going to have a good shot getting first jump and winning.

But my thinking could change, right?

09 Apr 2013 12:29 PM

What is with these comments all referring to time of the race yeah golden cents went 147 and change in the worst prep to date being chased by a horse off since the breeders cup who was ensuring a hot pace for flashback. Time time I have owned 10 claimed who won sprints in 9 and change or miles in 137 and I surely know that if I put them in for 20 the same day and races went a full 2 seconds slower I would be lucky to hit the board. It's not the time it's when the real running begins how much can they go sometimes the real running doesn't start till the last 3/8 ths going long or last 1/4 in sprints you guys should understand this " orb only went 150" I keep hearing? He did what he had to do he ran the last 3 furlongs and last 1/8 in solid. Same in FOY WHERE they went 108 to 3/4 pole violence loose on final turn he was far back because of such a hot pace and rallied resolutely to win !!! Time is only relevant in jail not so much in racing and DEFINITELY not as much as everybody posting is saying. I watched orb since his a other than win first time lasix and he was badly behaved high strung in paddock and washed out FOY he was way better not so washy and FL DERBY washy again if he could stay together he looks like he is head and shoulders above these as I have a feeling he hasn't been buckled down for his best yet and in a derby with a bunch of need the lead types he

Will be flying by horses like street sense

09 Apr 2013 12:46 PM

Mr. Haskin,

Rydilluc: “He has two major hurdles to get over – Polytrack and then dirt.”  

Your concerns regarding the above colt is understandable as he is unknown on both surfaces. There is no doubt he is a talented colt. However, I am curious as why you have more interest in Rydilluc than Footbrige who is just a talented and who possesses better credentials for synthetic surfaces.

Below is list of graded performers sired  by Footbridge’s sire Street Cry:

Street Boss:  won a G3, two G1s and finished 2nd & 3rd in two others all on synthetic.

Street Sense:  finished 2nd in two G1 on synthetic.

Street Hero:  finished 3rd in two G1 on synthetic; won KD on dirt

Desert Party: Broke his maiden and won a G3 on synthetic.

Zenyatta: undefeated in 18 starts on synthetic.

Shocking: Won the Melbourne Cup contested on turf

Cry  An Catch Me: Broke he maiden and won a G1 on synthetic.

As evidenced above, Street Cry is a top class synthetic sire.

Footbridge recorded exercise spins of 58.60 (1/30) and 59.60 (1/33) for 5F on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park.

There is no question as to whether two sub minute works on a synthetic track is good.

He has performed excellently on dirt as evidenced in his two close losses and his close maiden victory against medicated horses.

His stride pattern suggests the speedway at SA in not his best surface despite the favorable results he has achieved on it.

I think he will be tough in the Bluegrass based on his pedigree and brilliant works on what I consider to be his preferred surface. I think he is more likely to secure the points necessary to move on to Louisville.

Unlike Rydilluc who possesses known unknowns, he possesses favorable known, knowns.

09 Apr 2013 12:57 PM


In horse racing it's about who you beat and the class you have kept.  Orb has had the ability to perform against classy horses and beat them. The horses the so called experts deemed the best.  If he has beat the best that means something going into the Derby in my book. It might not mean he wins but if definitely means he belongs.  

Also, Orb has beat horses of class in multiple races not just one race of the examples you listed.  If a horse has beaten the top 3 race horses on your list regardless of when it was means something.  You keep saying that Orb beat Revolutionary in a maiden race has no significance, tell that to the folks who made Revolutionary the 3/5 chalk that day.  Also, the reason he got beat that day is the same reason he will have trouble again and that is his poor starts.

09 Apr 2013 1:26 PM
Sam Santschi

Steve,  Thanks for the mention of Dynamic Sky but of course he needs 1st or 2nd Saturday. Agree there is no standout and the works will be a huge determining factor for me this year.  All the talk about Pletcher, Baffert, the jockey choices, Stevens and the JV injury make me think it could be an overlooked horse with another somewhat obscure rider again this year.  Maybe James Graham or someone like that.

09 Apr 2013 1:28 PM

Flashback was going to be tough in the Derby. He was by far the Best of the west (projected at a mile and a quarter). Revolutionary is my top pick but will he get through the traffic jam in the Derby? He'll need a great ride. A speed horse getting a 105 Beyer at Santa Anita is no big deal so I will completely throw out Goldencents.

09 Apr 2013 2:13 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Merit Man won't be in the Derby (thankfully).  

09 Apr 2013 2:16 PM

Flashback wasn't gonna be tough in the derby he would of been an also ran what do you base that off a maiden win or meaningless stake race? When he got 2 semi acid tests he showed nothing sat a perfect trip and couldn't get to golden cents throat latch or even a 2 lengths near him at the 1/8 pole he's a miler at best guys wake up. Golden cents can't get 10 furloughs unless you vanned him round the twin spires

09 Apr 2013 3:15 PM
joy wilkins

Nordancer obviously you know little about breeding or you wouldn't make that ridiculous statement about Secretariat...a disappointment at stud...really?   Obviously broodmares of the year don't count?  Without Secretariat there would be no A P Indy, Storm Cat, Gone West, or Dehere.

09 Apr 2013 3:24 PM
Rusty Weisner

I hadn't realized Black Onyx lost a dirt race by 19 lengths.  I knew that he won a dirt race that had been taken off the turf (Rydilluc and Fire Guard were scratches there).  Please don't let me bet this horse.

09 Apr 2013 3:38 PM

Nordance, I heartily disgree with you that Secretariat's blood lines hardly matter. For one thing and there are others which I do not have time to elaborate on...there is the X factor big heart genetics....with all this crosses to the Secretariat daughters, it is almost inevitable that War Academy has the factor. Second, all these line breedings to Mr Prospector has produced over 20 years of speed horses that have fragile legs and tendons and result in breakdowns. I am almost beginning to think that in addition to brittle bones, Mr Prospector also had a genetic defect for DSLD, hence all these tendon issues. Thirdly, Secretariat was a broodmare sire, he passed his greatness on to his mares. Rarely can great horse duplicate themselves and that applies to not only Secretariat but to all great horses. The foal is the result of the dam and the sire, not just one or the other. Curious...and tell me please...if you think Secretariat bloodlines do not matter, why is it that 8 out 10 of the top contenders each go back to Secretariat and why, if he does not matter, that the top sires on the Blood Horse sire lists are out of the dam line that Secretariat left us?

09 Apr 2013 3:45 PM
Rusty Weisner

I like Java's War less after watching that TB Derby again.  After his middle move he made up very little ground on Verrazano and never actually threatened him.  And just too awfully slow out of the gate, as with his other, worse try on dirt.  Not a win contender, though I'll see about putting him underneath.

09 Apr 2013 4:11 PM

Gotta eat some crow I was pumping up Vyjack and he got 3rd.

My question with more in the know, is the bleeding and the mucus a legit excuse for losing the race?

Still like Orb.

Will take Charge as well.

Out of sight out of mind with this horse.

09 Apr 2013 4:15 PM

Great picks and insight as usual Mr Haskins, 105 Beyer seems awful high for Goldencents, Santa Anita can be like 1-95, I Love Pitino though, the most interesting this year is the jockeys, can't see Pletcher losing either jock,Johnny V will be there, Hope Rosario gets Orb,Looks like a pretty wide open race, Good betting race.

09 Apr 2013 4:20 PM

IMO the best of the west thus far before Saturdays preps is Govenor Charlie.

09 Apr 2013 5:23 PM

The most interesting race at the moment is "which jockey/which horse"? In particular, who is going to ride Orb and who is going to ride Normandy Invasion?

Will RD ride in the Derby?

09 Apr 2013 5:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   I like Den's Legacy from the West. I just want to see how he does Saturday. He might run big but there are 3 or 4 others I like also in Arkansas. I also like Palce malice eventhough he didn't make my list this time. I loved Hear the Ghost. I don't see some of the others as Derby horses. Need to see how War Academy does against competition before judging him.

09 Apr 2013 6:53 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Den's Legacy / Giacomo

From the Racing Flow perspective,  these are two very different horses leading up to the Derby.

Giacomo's final two preps were run on the wrong side of two very speed favoring races, thus his closing ability was masked by the horses in front of him having energy to finish strongly.  In the Derby,  Giacomo was the beneficiary of the 2nd most favorable scenario for a closer in the last 22 years (Street Sense had it easier two years later).  

While we upgraded Den's Legacy heading into the Rebel,  that race received a neutral rating,  aka 'fair for all styles'.  There has been some talk of a closer Bias or a dead rail on Rebel day - we believe that neither is accurate.

Personally, I'm hoping that Den's Legacy does solidify a Derby spot this weekend,  and that he does it with a third place finish that is 'better than looks'.  If so, he'll be more likely to follow in the footsteps of Giacomo as an overlooked winner.

Best of luck to all this weekend.

09 Apr 2013 6:54 PM

joy wilkins:

Don't be so quick to criticize others about their lack of breeding knowledge. Had Secretariat not existed, there would very likely have been many more stakes winners produced from his mates. For many years he was bred to the very best, yet sired relatively few of distinction.

Hope that Footbridge manages to get into that Blue grass field.

09 Apr 2013 7:24 PM
tom mallios

not this one in particular,but all top 10 or top 15 lists.they are an absolute joke.they change every week or everytime a new race pops the experts that put these lists out.make a list and stand by your convictions.judge a horse.don't blow in the same direction the wind does.if you like a horse state it.if he had a bad race,big deal.if i were someone who really wanted to follow a list.i want your opinion from your heart.i do not want you to rate them based on what they just did.everyone and their mothers can come up with the same horses .just a few spots off.if a horse has not gotten injured,what does it matter if they ran 2nd or 3rd.also to the fans that post their own top 10 lists.what makes you think that anyone really cares.there is no accountability to them.also these lists will more than likely change by next weeks post.if i loved a longshot,i would keep it to myself.i am sure many of you have good points regarding longshots.why let other people in on it.what is more important.the price you get if they win.or to stroke your egos if they win.i do not mean to sound mean or insensitive,but enough is enough.just like the nfl draft boards.i see guys that were ranked among the top 3 players 1 month,they are not even in the top please,give me your opinion if you want.but stick to it.

09 Apr 2013 7:37 PM

Whats to like about Palice Malice? His daddy lost me a ton in his only start on the poly track.

09 Apr 2013 7:52 PM
Sail On

I still think Verrazano is the class in the Derby. My question is who will make it thru the traffic to place and show. revolutionary has shown he is not afraid of running in the herd, and Normandy looks to be a real threat to win.

If Hear the Ghost was still in it, I think we would see a challenge from him.

Can we all agree that Vjack will not challenge the winner in the Derby?

09 Apr 2013 7:52 PM

Steve, I agree with you.  Another case to point out is Sham did not win the Wood, but he did beat Secretariat in that race.  So according to some on this blog, since Sham beat Secretariat, Sham had the best chance of winning the Kentucky Derby.  We all know what happened to individuals with that train of thought, they lost some money; perhaps a lot of money.

Joy Wilkins, you are right, Nordancer needs to take a few lessons. Risen Star was Secretariat's best son, but Secretariat was a great broodmare sire.  His daughters were fantastic producers.  Secretariat's great stamina (large heart)was passed on to his daughters, not his sons.  That's why I look for Secretariat and his broodmare sire, Princequillo in the female line.  There is no good reason not to.  The breeder of War Academy felt the same way.

Another thing, I don't care if Orb beat Revolutionary in a race; it does not matter.

09 Apr 2013 8:01 PM
Rusty Weisner

The first kind of horse I'm looking for meets three criteria:  early speed, pedigree, seasoning.  Among the horses I predict being up near the lead (Itsmyluckyday, Falling Sky, Goldencents, Govenor Charlie, Verrazano) I think Verrazano comes closest to meeting all three, but still not quite (didn't race as a 2-yo old).

Orb is my tepid early favorite because I think he can run down one of these.  I prefer him to Normandy Invasion, and while Revolutionary might be flying fastest at the end, it's his beginning that's the question. It looks like he will be the second favorite on the ML after Verrazano.  I think Oxbow will be in the second flight and may pull a race like Nehro's.

09 Apr 2013 8:04 PM

tom mallios, if enough is enough, then you may want to consider moving on.  This is horseracing, and I'm having a great time with this blog.  

09 Apr 2013 8:09 PM

Oh my, Revolutionary still holding down the top spot. Now it's up to Java's War to make the top twenty. The War Pass camp in heaven would go crazy.

09 Apr 2013 8:32 PM

sceptre, I strongly disagree with you. Secretariat sired many great daughters.  Gallant Fox was the only Triple Crown winner to sire another Triple Crown winner, Omaha.

Gallant Fox sired other very nice horses, thanks to the many breedings to the great mare Flambino.  Isinglass, who won the English Triple Crown in the late 1800's, is located on the top and bottome female lines of Flambino's pedigree.

So that is why Gallant Fox produced so many outstanding horses; he can thank Flambino for making him look like quite the stud.    

09 Apr 2013 8:33 PM
El Kabong


The danger of deep closers is that their chances of getting a clean trip are slim. In the TBD Java starts to build momentum but has to hesitate for a second then starts up again(right after far turn) That can't happen.  Makes up ground but progression on V in the lane was not happening but he does separate from rest. But that was his first back and remember the pace was moderate, nothing like what he'll get in Derby to move on. He should really like closing on the rug at Keeneland so lets watch and wager their first. As for his dirt performance, I was following Uncaptured when I noticed this guy. Java had a miserable trip and so I put him in the barn. He had a slow break but his jock (not willie)took him 6-7 wide all the way up the backstretch??????? Look at his distance run that race it tells the story.  He'll be fine on dirt, at least enough  to hit the board if he passes test one so keep him on your BG tickets. That race holds many cards. I just hope they all get a good trip. I agree that he's an unlikely win in Derby, circumstances would have to unfold but he's a blue blood of a stayer in a field of so so's as far as 10F's go. He must get in the dance. Moooohhooohahahaha....... evil laugh continued.

09 Apr 2013 9:01 PM

Coldfacts, in 11 of the last 13 winners of the Belmont Stakes; Princequillo, broodmare sire of Secretariat, showed up on the tail side of their pedigrees, not Mr. Prospector.  The broodmare's sire female line is really important to look at as well as the mare's female line.    

09 Apr 2013 9:01 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D:  Good point you make but for me I think Goldencents is the best in the west. I like O'Neil as his trainer, he has last years experience to draw from as well.

I am just not fond of these slow times these eastern horses keep putting up. Revolutionary gets himself into trouble every race. How tough will it be getting around a 20 horse field in the Derby. Verrazano is the question mark, how good is he?

Govenor Charlie is lightly raced and that is Steve's concern but he certainly has the talent. I also like Oxbow and this weekend will tell us a little more.........

09 Apr 2013 9:13 PM
El Kabong

tom mallios,

that was well thought through. Your frustration is felt by anyone who has wagered, poorly, and is now looking for a quick fix, a solution, a constant in a universe that offers few and even less in thoroughbreds. Hit the road, you're on the wrong site and I've never said that to anyone here. Congrats.

09 Apr 2013 9:15 PM


Yes, the bleeding is a reasonable explanation for a loss, but more importantly it is a compelling reason to expect the horse will bleed again if you don't skip a few engagements.

09 Apr 2013 9:17 PM

In case it's new to some of you, the X factor is supported by uncredentialled people with less than high school biology to judge from their writings.

Not proven does not mean the same thing as proven not.

But . . . not proven is mild. Just an example of how speculative this cult is: it is based on the excess size of certain horse's hearts over the average. The size of these horse's hearts was never measured and there is also no data on average horse's heart size. Just think what is needed: necropsy of 100s of horses of each breed, including 100s of thoroughbreds trained to racing fitness.

The X-factor pushers have never done a numerical analysis of the number of descendants of, let's say, PQ daughters who should be expected to show the X-factor if there guess that it is a single gene on the X-chromosome is correct, and that would be simple.

But bottom line, it would be worth quite a few million if you could advertise a stallion as a proven carrier and somebody would have done it.

09 Apr 2013 9:30 PM


Ever seen a picture of Gallant Fox? He is one of the most impressive looking thoroughbreds of all time, make, shape and attitude.

09 Apr 2013 9:31 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I actually was impressed with Vyjack considering that I didn't like the way he looked pre-race and that he bled I think he did quite well. He seems to have the heart of a champion on the track, he just needs to have the confidence and champion's demeanor pre-race and relax a little more. I was impressed with Verrazano the most in the Wood and Vyjack second. Verrazano easily repelled any challenge and I believe would have left Normandy in the dust if the race continued on.

Tom Mallios

    I am perplexed by your post-"stand by your convictions"??? Who said they were convictions? Most of us aren't going to have convictions at least until the preps are over and most likely not until the final pps are out, then hopefully will have some kind of a conviction other than getting arrested and convicted for being a blogger making fun lists in a speculative manner. Opinions change all of the time during the preps, it is the nature of the game. I hope you're not saying that if we post that we like someone in January that he or she must be our Derby horse to bet the farm on. This is meant to be pure specualtion and fun trying to guess who MIGHT POSSIBLY have a chance to win the Derby and most of us will admit we are often wrong in these still early stages, but have fun being wrong. Even when we feel we could really be on to something a horse like Hear the Ghost or Violence is injured and off the trail. Duh gee Tennessee.

09 Apr 2013 9:32 PM

joy wilkins,

Weekend Surprise produced Summer Squall as well.

09 Apr 2013 9:39 PM

joy wilkins,

"Without Secretariat there would be no A P Indy, Storm Cat, Gone West, or Dehere."

A P Indy was sired by TC winner Seattle Slew. I guess A P Indy's brilliance is exclusively associated his dam sire Secretariat.

Storm Cat was sired by Storm Bird a son of the great Northern Dancer. I guess Storm Cat, ability is exclusively associated his dam sire Secretariat.

Gone West was sired by Mr. Prospector who is regarded as the greatest extension of Native Dancer. I guess Gone West ability is exclusively associated his dam sire Secretariat.

Your statement above cannot be considered measured.

09 Apr 2013 9:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   We're just following the yellow brick road, right? By the time we get to Derby day hopefully we'll have a brain, and the courage and heart to bet our convictions.

09 Apr 2013 9:48 PM

Windolin I agree with you. I have never seen so many crosses to Secretariat daughters on the tail side of a horses pedigree.  God bless War Academy's breeder, he put stamina and strong bone before speed. (x-factor) Secretariat's dam was by Princequillo, likely the greatest long distance runner of all time. If War Academy doesn't show up this weekend, save him for the Belmont. Mike Smith has always been high on this horse.  The end.  I bid everyone a good night and pleasant dreams.  

09 Apr 2013 10:32 PM

Secretariat was a crashing disappointment at stud and anyone who denies it wasn't around while we all held our breath waiting for his first foals to impress until we had to stop because we were turning magenta.

But the "worst ever" is over the top. May I remind you of Cigar? Remember Precisionist? He sired three foals in as many years. His sperm lacked an ova-homing device so they only impregnated ova that they tripped over in the dark.

What's the measure? Secretariat's runners lifetime earned 3x the average of all runners in the same years. He handily exceeded the breed average for % SWs from foals. But he had foals from the best mares in the world. Perhaps this is the least we should expect of the foals from these mares by whomever. With a more specific basis for comparison: as a group, over his lifetime at stud, Secretariat foals were conspicuously inferior to foals from the same mares by other stallions. = FAIL

Is this redeemed by his having a few exceptional producing daughters? Not in my book.

If the X-factor exists and is a single gene on the X chromosome, 300 Secretariat daughters, all his daughters, would have it. So would all of Princequillo's daughters. Gay Crusader's. It would not be a rare and wonderful thing and would have spread throughout the breed by now, as the extra vertebrae and sloping pelvis took over the breed in a dozen generations.

The thoroughbred is a stew of the genes of all the light cavalry horses on and around the Mediterranean. (The only source breed that has the El Greco long, thin face of Tabasco Cat, for instance, is the Portuguese Lusitano, a modern day bloodless  bull fighting horse.)

That "Arabians bred to native English mares" story was a scam by an eccentric Victorian lady who imported a bunch of Arabians into England to "improve" the mongrel thoroughbred; the scheme was limited by the fact that the Arabians, and Anglo-Arabians, weren't fast enough to pony a thoroughbred.

There were no native English mares suitable to be raced and there is no known instance in the stud book where a dam of a racehorse is described as a native English mare. There are just blanks into which people project their imaginings or wishes. The stable records and pedigrees of the foundation horses of the Stud Book were burned during Cromwell's Revolution in England.

Of course, when a horse is imported there is an exporting country also involved, and the pedigrees of the Royal Mares are preserved by the breeder who sold them to the English crown, the monastery in Andalusia which developed and maintained the breed. I've seen them. The book was in Portuguese and I couldn't read much of it, but I can recognize four-cross pedigrees and produce records in a book, and "The Cellar Mare" was in English. (BOOM, pitta pitta pitta pitta -- I think I must have an X-Factor heart.)

I'd suggest this for handicapping: if there is such a thing it is an amazing, overwhelming advantage. It should be obvious which horse has this advantage and futile to try to beat him.

09 Apr 2013 11:01 PM

Rusty, Black Onyx won the Spiral Stakes.  I don't care what he did before that.  

09 Apr 2013 11:14 PM


There is no scientific/genetic data to support the claim that heart size is tranmitted through the X chromosome. You are merely perpetuating a myth. Not only wasn't Secretariat a good colt sire, his fillies, as a whole, didn't perform much better. If what you claim (the X-heart size) is true, why weren't there far more top race fillies sired by Secretariat? And let's see, Lady's Secret was a top racing Secretariat filly/mare. Take a look at her produce record. She had a 50/50 chance of passing on that Secretariat X chromosome with each mating. She was a poor producer. So much for the "power" of that X chromosome.

09 Apr 2013 11:53 PM

trackjack : Did you see the leaderboard for the RTTR ?  Seems like this year's edition was done without much thinking.   Looks like they missed a big "rule", that you can't have the same horse 6 times in your  The current leaders all have used their 6 horses.  I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of ties and will be decided via the tiebreaker which I screwed up.  I didn't pay attention to it and was putting the number of total attendance at CD on Derby day which has always been the tiebreaker.  Oh well, it'll be interesting to see how they sort things out.

10 Apr 2013 12:33 AM
Matt Converse

Rusty--thanks for the props on my list, as for War Academy and the track, keep in mind, he's not a typical Baffert horse.  He's not a speed horse, he's a stalker. Also note his latest work wasn't a typical Babbfert 4f blaze, it was a much longer 7f drill.  

10 Apr 2013 3:22 AM
Matt Converse

Steve, regarding Lines of Battle's closing fractions, I would also remind readers here the opening fractions were adsurdly slow.  About 10-15 lengths slower than the Wood, if you can imagine that.  53 and change opening half.  He should have closed in 22 flat after that, like turf horses do. I have serious doubts about him wanting 10f after that 5.5f race masquerading as 9.5f.  

10 Apr 2013 3:36 AM


Seven of the last 11 Belmont winners were from the Mr.. Prospector sire line.

10 Apr 2013 6:10 AM

Thoroughly enjoyed the discussion by Cassandra.Says, Coldfacts, Sceptre among others relative to Secretariat's genes and stud accomplishments. One needs to examine the record carefully to see that he was disappointing (1) relative to his talent as a runner and (2) when compared to Northern Dancer, who although a great runner, was not close to Secretariat as a racehorse. Northern Dancer was not only a great sire of great broodmares but a sire of great sires. He was also a sire who injected incredible speed coupled with great stamina influences. Secretariat had both phenomenal speed and phenomenal stamina but failed to transmit same to the numerous quality mares at his court.  The facts are there, and right across the planet. Breeders had so much hope for Secretariat.  He disappointed their expectations.

10 Apr 2013 8:19 AM

The LHX theory was never scientifically peer-reviewed and studies on the test used indicate that the heart score has no correlation to future racing ability. In addition, the actual gene has not been identified, nor has its mode of inheritance been determined, the condition may even be influenced by multiple genetic factors. Wiki

10 Apr 2013 9:04 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   The training to slow down Goldencents and teaching him to rate some has helped and he ran a strong race in the SA Derby. I don't know if the race is an abberation or if he is getting good at the right time. I never liked him as a Derby horse but he is looking better now. Will wait to see how he is looking and training at CD. I believe that Flashback had a strong chance to win that race and that he was injured in the last part of the race. He seemed to take a little miss-step and then slowed down. I would have to say that Goldencents is the best from the west right now. There are no monsters so your guess is as good as mine for the Derby. You're right- most of the times are slow. Someone will emerge, the Derby time will be slow, or Goldencents will win it if you base it on times. I am far from making a top pick or two. Revolutionary has impressed me because of the way he has won with poor trips, and as Steve said, with a good trip we might have seen a much better time. However he is not my pick yet. A number one ranking doesn't mean he is my pick. Still way too early. There is very little chance of me picking one, two, or three horses to key on before the final pps this year. One of those wide open years so far.

10 Apr 2013 9:09 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

El Kabong

   That's funny because that is what I was thinking- he's on the wrong blog. Well said brother Kabong.

10 Apr 2013 9:11 AM
Steve Haskin

New Racing fan, we are unable to switch from one blog to another. If you look at the head-ons of his races, you will see his problems were not caused by breaking slowly, but the horse next to him plowing into him. The one race he broke cleanly, his maiden race, he won by 8 1/2 lengths.

10 Apr 2013 10:00 AM

Hey nordancer, Northern Dancer will always be a great runner and the equal of Secretariat to me and probably to a great bunch of Canadians "d'un certain age".  I think I still have the front page of the Toronto Star somewhere in some moldering scrapbook trumpeting his win "for the country".  

Sometimes, emotion trumps reason.  

So far, still on Uncaptured and I would love to get my second horse -- Dynamic Sky -- into the race but he's really gonna have to step up to the plate at the Bluegrass.  Hope he gets a hat trick or a TD or whatever the equivalent is for basketball.  (I don't know basketball -- remember, I'm in a city with the Raptors.)

10 Apr 2013 10:44 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Like I said, you're the expert on this one.  I'm still keen on him underneath but right now I have no idea how a vertical exotic in this race would look.

As one of the many faint of heart here whose convictions waver and flutter (ouch!) I'm kind of leaning now towards gambling that the pace will not be immoderate. Barring a deep, dull track (2011) I'm thinking of weighting my multi-race tickets towards the near-the-pace horses.  Orb is my favorite off-the-pace horse; Revolutionary, too, but I'll be betting he'll have too much to do.  WTC and Oxbow will have better odds than NI and I think Oxbow will sit fairly far back off the pace.  I don't have a single in mind and probably won't, but I'm hoping to have the boldness to limit a pick-4 ticket to Orb, Verrazano, Itsmyluckyday and Goldencents in the Derby leg.  I know the knocks against the latter two; those will be my attempts to grab a relative longshot.

But this could all change and with 24 days to go there are still so many entertaining permutations to sift through.

10 Apr 2013 10:44 AM
Rusty Weisner

Dr. Drunkinbum,

This is exactly what Baffert said when interviewed, that he suspected the injury occurred right after he changed leads.  

Super99 offers a little bit of a yardstick for comparison with other contenders:  Goldencents beat Super99 by 9 3/4, where Super99 lost by 8 1/4 at Oaklawn.  On one hand the distance was longer, but the surface was to Super99's liking, so maybe it's an even comparison.  WTC got a 95 Beyer.  Go figure.

In the same way that I consider Pletcher horses cursed, I consider O'Neill charmed, and "getting good at the right time" is enough for me for him to warrant consideration.  

10 Apr 2013 10:59 AM
Rusty Weisner

Saratoga AJ,

Watch it, we're on the wrong blog.  

Before I drop the subject, though, I'll recommend a recent biography of C.'s war years by (British) Max Hastings.

If you can believe it, there were actually several horses called "Stalingrad", and one even called "Zhukov" (from New Zealand of all places).  You can guess where I'm going with this....but wrong blog.  

10 Apr 2013 11:08 AM
Rusty Weisner

Matt Converse,

Thanks, but per the puncuation-free pontificator, it's too late for me to change my mind ;-)

I think I'll still bet against him because of the track and because he's beat no one and been beaten by two disappointments.  Baffert does seem to think more highly of him than the two than ran up the track in the SA Derby, though.  

I like Oxbow enough here, and the jockey switch might be some upside (no one's given me an opinion on Stevens; it would help me out).

10 Apr 2013 11:21 AM
It aint easy being good!

Revolutionary is not union rags! Revolutionary gets himself in trouble and still wins! Do you honestly think after beating 13 horses his last race 6 more is going to make a difference? Also at churchill turning for home if you cant find running room then your not a good jockey. Revolutionary has no fear and has the heart of a champion. He is well deserved of the top spot!

10 Apr 2013 11:44 AM
El Kabong

Dr. D

thanks. I just can't stand the smell of old gym lockers filled with unwashed clothes and that's what filled the room when I read that post. Useless macho energy. As if  we need tough love from a stranger to properly discuss horse racing:)

10 Apr 2013 12:04 PM

Dr. D:

One more illusion shattered.

I remember in the 60s hanging out with girlfriends evaluating the new talent in town, draft dodgers.

I said "Just remember you'd be going with a guy who once had the hots for Annette Funicello."

10 Apr 2013 12:06 PM

I said this last year but it should become a classic.

After Swale won the Derby a trainer commented "It was one of those years when we had half a dozen good three-year-olds going into the Derby, and coming out we had one."

10 Apr 2013 12:08 PM
Rusty Weisner

What winners have "outrun their pedigree"?

10 Apr 2013 12:22 PM
Rusty Weisner

it ain't easy being good,

"Do you honestly think after beating 13 horses his last race 6 more is going to make a difference?"


And Hip 69 won't be running in this race.

10 Apr 2013 12:27 PM

It appears my big colt Footbridge got into the Bluegrass field.

Revolutionary is my choice presently but if the talented Street Cry colt gets into the Derby I will be on board.

The Derby is the domain of the Mr. Prospector sire line and it always delivers.

10 Apr 2013 12:37 PM
El Kabong


It's never easy and this is a particularly tough class to figure but I can't say enough about the coverage on this site. From the articles and interviews, to the blogs its worth staying tuned. Last year it was an interview with Barry Irwin that I think Lenny did that made me really stop and take notice of Went The Day Well. Most, myself included, tend to ignore a horse whose connections choose the less popular races, when it really it came down to timing and not a fear of any particular competition for WTDW.  Without that interview, I wonder if I would have played him underneath.  Take it all in from here to May.

10 Apr 2013 12:41 PM
Old Old Cat

Love this column in particular, not for the order of the picks, but for the bloggers' comments.  Several of the off the wall comments are very interesting.  

First: On the matter of not knowing if a horse can go between to others, and the response of -send it back to the two year old training center.  I agree whole-heartedly on that assessment.  My 2yo filly is currently running up and down hills on Hirsch Jacobs' old Stymie Manor, learning all the little things a racehorse needs to know (stall loading and breaking, passing on the left, right, middle, having horses running at them, obeying the jockey, changing leads) which cannot be taught as effectively at the racetrack.

My filly has Storm Cat on the dam side, and I wish the the BHX factor were known to be true, I see nothing outward with my baby that suggests that, but several bloodstock agents are predicting good lung capacity and the ability to stretch out.

While all the BHX talk merits a blog as a separate topic, I think it cannot be dismissed when a VETERINARIAN who has autopsied hundreds of horses says that Secretariat's heart is far bigger than any other he has seen.

And on the topic of genes, you cannot say that a given parent/grandparent has passed on 1/2 or 1/4 of the genes to a foal, because the combination of recessive or dominant genes or IDENTICAL genes may work to have more or less of that grandparent.

Lastly, I personally think it is more important to review the actual races, and the trips the horses had, rather than ANY of the numbers.  

10 Apr 2013 1:04 PM


Most recently, except for Animal Kingdom, I think all of them. :)

10 Apr 2013 1:14 PM

El Kabong

I chuckled on your message ending, "congrats!" to TM!  


You have extensive experience in this sport, invaluable  insight, and a tender heart towards the participants.  I hope your instincts are richly rewarded this weekend by a big race from Rydilluc!  I'm waiting, myself, with eager anticipation.  

10 Apr 2013 1:16 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I agree.  With me it was two years before.  I tossed Animal Kingdom into a pick 4 (with 9 other horses -- I should probably be ashamed to admit that.).  I didn't hit it (the immortal Aikenite knocked me out, benefiting from a closers' track at 13-1).  It was the coverage here and the appraisal of Steve Haskins that made me put him in.  WtDW was much easier to stick underneath after AK, for obvious reasons.  Which reminds me:  no Black Onyx this year, no way.

10 Apr 2013 1:28 PM

Giant Causeway, great sire and sire of sires, with 8 crops to race through 3 yrs. he has been the leading sire multiple times in multiple countries, including three times leader of the U.S. general sire list and leader of the general sire list worldwide, sire of top winners on grass, synthetic, dirt and over fences, sire of champions and/or classic winners in England, Ireland, France, Italy, Peru, Chile, Australia, U.S., Canada, NZ and Serbia -- and I don't have full records for UAE and Japan.

What an excellent advertisement he is for making full use of our stallions' virility.

Does anyone on the board have a traumatic incident in his past he wants to share with us?

10 Apr 2013 1:28 PM

Hmmm surprised to see Mr. Gomez choosing to ride Palace Malice over the highly regarded Footbridge in the Bluegrass.   I will go with Rydilluc, as the Palm Beach provided the springboard for Brilliant Speeds Bluegrass victory as well.  Also looking for War Academy to take the Arkansas geared down.

10 Apr 2013 2:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Rusty Weisner

   He appeared to be full of run and had really just started when he dramatically slowed down. It would be a big surprise if it didn't happen then. I also feel the way you do about the margin ahead of the rest of the field. Even with the injury it proved that Flashback is a winner at 9f. Without the injury I suspect that he'd have plenty of 10f supporters right now. I think he would have won but there is also the possibility of Goldencents winning in a very close race. Flashback will come back and show that he is very talented. It is also quite possible that the injury is the best thing that could have happened to him and his owners. Many get fried in the Derby.

10 Apr 2013 3:49 PM

Coldfacts so its either Revolutionary or Footbridge got it unless both make it then you stay on Footbridge.

I am hoping its Revolutionary because he fits perfect in that position of the super.

10 Apr 2013 3:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Strange that Palace Malice is 8-1 on the ML. It would be a miracle to get odds that high. I think he's 3-1. The Blue Grass looks to be very contentious, and the Ark Derby is ripe for a big upset.

10 Apr 2013 4:38 PM
Rusty Weisner

No respect for Oxbow. Three well-regarded California horses lost to him at Oaklawn, two of whom War Academy lost to in the San Vicente.  I'm skeptical of his 98 Beyer in a five-horse allowance race.  

I think having had a race over the track will be a big benefit to both Oxbow and Lukas, especially with that new guy on board.

I would be very enthusiastic about putting Falling Sky underneath him, but I'm leery how the track will treat his speed.  I might opt against a bold exacta and have him holding on to hit the board in tris.

Or maybe I'll try a Pick 3, singling Oxbow.

Nice weather predicted for Hot Springs.

10 Apr 2013 5:10 PM

JV says no to Orb and JR says....yes!! The mini battles within the war to win the Kentucky Derby, and may the!!

10 Apr 2013 5:25 PM
Rusty Weisner

What a crazy race the Bluegrass is.  I guess I like Java's War and Uncaptured but will play longshots with one or both of them:  Dynamic Sky?  Tesseron?  Undrafted? Coldfacts' Footbridge?

10 Apr 2013 5:33 PM
It aint easy being good!

Rusty you have lost your mind. revolutionary is a fighter and wont give up he will be there at the end. Do you guys want to bet orb after getting a new rider? Do you want to take Verrazano after his jockey who is the man is coming back derby week? Maybe a bit premature? Johnny V better ask for TO's chamber so he can recover! SO the logical choice will be REVOLUTIONARY 7-1 odds yes please. Also one more bold perdiction: Coldfacts footbridge runs 4th this weekend book it!

10 Apr 2013 5:41 PM
Sail On

Rosiario has jumped from Vyjack to Orb. Like ( asked, is there anyone who things Vyjack can finish in the money against this Derby?

Still asking, which horse can beat Verrazano in the Derby, and what strategy will be employed to do it?

10 Apr 2013 6:09 PM

Old Old Cat:

Re-these side issues; Secretariat may have indeed had a very large heart. The point, however, was that there's no good evidence to suggest that heart size is transmitted via the X chromosome. Incidentally, large hearts are not necessarily a good thing. They are often the result of CHF. And, an immediate parent ALWAYS imparts to its offspring 50% of their genetic "material" (1/2 of their chromosomal material, but please read about meiosis)...Lastly, its not been my experience that training facilities, let alone the training at the racetrack, offers horses much education in the "art" of breezing between horses, or even galloping between horses.

10 Apr 2013 6:49 PM

Steve, I know that I do not need to mention this for you, but will for the benefit of the "Secretariat" and "X-factor" non believers on here...My Lute goes back to Secretariat via a mare he sired named Sister Dot. And I thought your comment about quick recovery was for thought.

For now I have Revolutionary, Verrazzano and War Academy on my list and in no particular order. As always I will make my final choice in the post parade. I've been pretty successful with my picks. I do not bet, so it does not matter that I pick that late..though I wish I had bet on Mine That intuition told me he was going to win.

One final comment on the kind of hard to promote a stallion as having it after he has died and the heart is weighed at necropsy don't you think?

To the poster who said they were doing the groundwork training and there was a lot of hill work...Kudos to you...nothing beats hill work for conditioning, strengthening and building bone and muscle not to mention what it does for hip and the horses frame of mind!

Happy racing everyone...we are getting closer to the Derby everyday and we will soon know who was right and who was wrong. I just always pray for healthy horses and jockeys going back to the barns after every matter who wins.

10 Apr 2013 7:13 PM

Sceptre, pursuant to the large heart (X-factor), it is a THEORY, an idea that is intended to explain why heart size in horses varies dramatically.  The X chromosome is physically 70% larger that the Y chromosome and so MAY also conribute up to 70% of the physical characteristics to the offspring.

Heart size alone although a good indicator of racing ability, does not guarantee racecourse success.  Many successful horses have smaller than average size hearts and many horses with large hearts were no good as racehorses.

Common sense would tell you that it seems easier to get away with a small heart at a shorter distance and that heart size becomes increasingly important as distance increases.

Secretariat's large heart explains why he was able to go 1 1/2 miles in 2:24, lung capacity.  That record will stand forever.

The last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed had speed on the top of his pedigree, and a lot of stamina on the tail side.  By the way, you'll find Princequillo on the tail side of his pedigree.

Go War Academy, the favorite to win the Arkansas Derby. His running style is something to behold, like a cat on the prowl.  Revolutionary, War Academy and Black Onyx, are the horses that I hope will show up in the Derby.

10 Apr 2013 8:00 PM


Love seeing the owners, Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith, on your top twelve list with their stud, Lines of Battle. You have definitely bucked history with this indulgence, yet I can't help but agree with including this well bred colt despite the slow time achieved. Even the jockey, Moore, said the early stages of the UAE Derby were run in a "canter". When was the last time you heard that word used to describe the pace of a race? But, what was impressive was the way this horse held sway at the end of the race, was truly an exhibition of dominance. I know the record doesn't suggest that he will be able to transfer that dominance to the field of battle, the Kentucku Derby, but I would caution any that are too quick to write him off, that these are strange times we live in and things happen all the time that we haven't seen before. Besides the fact that he is so well bred, including the closeup influence of Danzig and the now popular broodmare sire, Arch, he also met a couple of horses we are familiar with from races here in this country, He's had Enough and Dice Flavor. Not only did he bury these two, but a contingent of very good opponents all chasing a 2 million dollar purse.  

I will include him when I bet the Super this year, betting that he will be the factor most overlooked and resulting in a big return on investment.

10 Apr 2013 8:30 PM

cigar charlie -good picks we both collect this weekend. palace malice may be the only horse in this year  to pick the jockey he wants to have ride him in the derby. gomez looks like the one. i"ll put him in an exacta box. war academy could be loaded backwards in the starting gate and still win.

10 Apr 2013 8:41 PM
Pedigree Ann

Byron Allen - "The horse has been selectively bred over 300 years so the theory that there is a single gene located on the X chromosome that is controlling heart size and its subsequent relation to performance is misleading at least. If is was something as easy as it was put in Marianna Haun's books, we would have been selecting for this, either by design or happenstance, for such a long time that all horses would have the gene and therefore it would have little relevance."

"Geneticists who are working on thoroughbred performance are of the opinion that performance will be measured by a large number of genes located on the nuclear and quite possible mtDNA with each having an additive effect (a polygenic profile). They have not found any evidence of these performance variants being located on the X chromosome.

"While it is interesting to look at, I am afraid to say on current scientific evidence, the X factor is a very misleading theory."

10 Apr 2013 8:58 PM
Pedigree Ann

Rusty - I'm with you about War Academy; I don't get the enthusiasm. He wins his maiden in an AW sprint. He's beaten in his stakes debut by Shakin' It Up and Treasury Bill, who didn't do the form any favors in their next outs.  And he wins a 2-turn n1x by sitting second in a race with glacial (for Santa Anita) early fractions  of 24 & 2 and 48 & 3 before sprinting home.

He has high profile connections, to be sure, and he cost a lot of money.., but he's behind a lot of these in development. Maybe he'll be better than they are in a few months time - who knows? You don't only have to have talent to win these late preps - you have to be ready as well.

10 Apr 2013 9:23 PM
Pedigree Ann

I was quoting Byron ROGERS, not Allen. Don't know why I always make that mistake. Mixing Byron with Allen Porter together to get a hybrid?

10 Apr 2013 9:28 PM

Coldfacts, let me reiterate what I have said many times before, Mr. Prospector was a great stallion.  I love to see the Mr. Prospector (Count Fleet) Secretariat (Princequillo) cross.   Inbreeding to Mr. Prospector raises warning signs, particularly with leg and foot unsoundness.  This is a fact.

10 Apr 2013 9:46 PM
Paula Higgins




War Academy


Palice Malice if he gets in

10 Apr 2013 11:00 PM
El Kabong

Big Tex,


10 Apr 2013 11:10 PM


Secretariat was the greatest racehorse I have ever seen, but I don't think you can say Northern Dancer wasn't "close." It was Northern Dancer's stakes and track record Secretariat broke in the Derby by 3/5ths, and only Monarchos has also beaten it.

If we look at Northern Dancer's legacy, a lot of things are pretty evident. His foals were not precocious. More than that, almost all his foals got better with age. A Northern Dancer breaking its maiden at two almost always turned out to be a stakes horse. He sired some fine dirt horses, particularly fillies who weren't carried off to Europe like the colts were, but "Northern Dancer's champion . . ." immediately calls to mind a horse going long on turf.

So . . . it looks as though we may never have seen Northern Dancer at anything near his best. He retired a few weeks after his late May birthday and was over-raced as a two-year-old. We never saw a mature Northern Dancer going a distance on the grass. His progeny suggest that we never saw the best of him.  

11 Apr 2013 12:03 AM


"While all the BHX talk merits a blog as a separate topic, I think it cannot be dismissed when a VETERINARIAN who has autopsied hundreds of horses says that Secretariat's heart is far bigger than any other he has seen."

Whaaaat? Of course it can be dismissed. When did veterinarians receive the cloak of infallibility? Or veracity? Especially a veterinarian who failed to mention or think of this until approached by X-factor cultists years later. He said that although he had not weighed or measured Secretariat's heart at the time, thinking back to another heart he HAD weighed, he would estimate that Secretariat's heart weighed . . . THIS IS NOT SCIENCE.

I'd like to apologize to Mary for dumping on her a bit. I believe there IS something unusual, breed-shaping and genetic going on in some of the lines the X-factor folks are looking at. It is merely evident that they are uneducated in biology, probabilities, physiology and even logic, so they lack the tools to give us worthwhile analyses or even best guesses at just what it is.

Specifically, I do not think it is a coincidence that Secretariat is damsire of three great sires. I just don't think it's due to a gene on his X chromosome.

11 Apr 2013 12:31 AM

The "accumulative effect" theory ascribed by Byron Rogers to "geneticists" is much more obviously wrong than the X-factor theory. Geneticists holding it were obviously trained at an agricultural college where the focus is on things like lbs of milk produced per dollar of alfalfa replacing grass hay, which is cumulative.

We breed the horse for something different, optimum performance in an exercise that utilizes every body part and system. Most gene variations are yes/no. If the gene is damaged it does nothing. This is obscured by the fact that it breeds out more rapidly than a gene that still makes an enzyme, especially if we think the difference is pretty and choose for it.

Any damaged gene in any system anywhere compromises racing performance. We need good liver function. Hoof texture is critical to soundness. A slow eye-blink restricts a horse to grass and even there s/he may get kickback.

What we are after is eliminating any genetic damage. It's likely to reduce the value of OUR product to zero, whereas the economics of the "cumulative massing of genes with small individual effects" is a diminution of profit by equally small percentages.

Somebody will buy your ill-bred pig; it's just that they'll pay you by the pound and it's a runt. But your TB yearling with a club foot? A market disaster. Buck teeth? Can't give him away.

11 Apr 2013 1:06 AM

Couple of observations.

Love seeing Rosario take the mount on Orb.

Steve, I thought your tweet on Oxbow's draw in the Ark. Derby was spot on.  I see him as a constant progresser in the preps who will offer attractive odds in the Ky Derby...unless he wins at Oaklawn on Saturday.

I suspect NI will be the "wise guy" horse on Derby Day and go off as second choice, regardless of what occurs this weekend.

War Academy is a bet-against for me this weekend.  His price will too short relative to his accomplishments to-date, for me.  I'm keying Falling Sky and Den's Legacy on top.

Blue Grass....who knows??? Balance the Books....why not.

11 Apr 2013 6:24 AM
Forbidden Apple

The Deacon,

You reported Goldencents running a time of 1:47 and change and now people are taking your word. You are WRONG, Goldencents ran 1:48.76.

Govenor Charlie's so called fastest time was run on a synthetic surface. Please wake me up when he runs against Grade I competition on dirt.

2-1 on War Academy, why? You can have him as the chalk, he is completely unproven.


Oxbow is not going to turn into a super horse because of a new jockey. This guy needs everything to go his way, always looking for the well timed perfect trip. In horse racing this does not come easy. At 2-1 you can have him too.

Sail On,

Why do you keep asking who is going to beat Verrazano? You are convinced that he can't lose. Good luck at 1 1/4 miles on a likely 3-1 morning line favorite.

KY Derby Dozen:

1)ITSMYLUCKYDAY 2)ORB 3)REVOLUTIONARY 4)Normandy Invasion 5)Verrazano 6)Goldencents 7)Black Onyx 8)Vyjack 9)Mylute 10)Lines of Battle 11)Govenor Charlie 12)Incognito

11 Apr 2013 8:06 AM

Rusty Weisner Coldfacts has hit 3 consecutive 4th place finishers at high odds,I hope Footbridge scratches so I can key his Derby pick Revolutionary in 4th in a $1 super.

11 Apr 2013 8:08 AM
Forbidden Apple

Phar Lap also had an unusually large heart.

Can any of you breeding experts pick a winner?

11 Apr 2013 8:12 AM

Do I drive up from Dallas to Oaklawn on Saturday?

Lets see, corned beef sandwiches, War Academy, Oxbow, Fort Larned's racing, hmmm...

11 Apr 2013 8:47 AM

Sail On asked:

Still asking, which horse can beat Verrazano in the Derby.

Any in the starting gate.

and what strategy will be employed to do it?

Get to the finish line before him.

11 Apr 2013 9:09 AM

Mr. Gomez is either very brave or very stupid. He secured the ride on the Todd Pletcher trained Dellhomme in the Rebel Stakes. The colt had to be eased and walked in just ahead of the medical emergency vehicle.

The Life AT Ten/Quality Road performance was reenacted yet again.

Mr. Pletcher is on record stating that he is comfortable with four weeks between races. When Place Malice takes his position in the starting gates on Saturday, the 14 days between races will be the shortest period between races in his career.  Obviously this period is outside the comfort zone of his trainer.

Mr.  Gomez has chosen to take the ride on Place Malice who is returning from a short recovery period and who will be contesting a race on a surface over which he is unproven.  

Mr. Gomez is the regular rider for Footbridge who like Palace Malice has only a maiden victory to his credit. However, he enters the Bluegrass off a victory, at full rest and with proven synthetic surface pedigree.

Delhomme contested the Rebel off a very long rest but on a familiar surface. He finished last. Palace Malice will be returning from short rest to contest a race on an unfamiliar surface. Add the fact that his trainer does not have a stellar record with short rest horses, it is quite likely that Delhomme will be joined by Place Malice just ahead of the medical emergency vehicle.

What was Mr. Gomez thinking?

11 Apr 2013 10:28 AM
David Merida


How do you feel about your rankings after seeing Castellano & Velázquez opt for Normandy Invasion & Verrazano, leaving your #1 & #2 pics?

Their decisions cannot help your confidence regarding Revolutionary & Orb...

11 Apr 2013 10:47 AM
Rusty Weisner

it ain't easy being good,

No, I haven't lost my mind.  I think Revolutionary may be the most talented, may have the most heart, but I'm willing to make a bet that he has an off start, too much to do, and possibly the further bad luck that comes with that.  Derbies are full of the best horses who don't get the trip.  However, it's rare that you have reasonable grounds to predict a bad trip; in this case I have those grounds.  If I go five or six wide on a multi-race ticket I'll have him, but no single, and he may not be in my top four. Which brings me to the one horse I'm leaning towards singling:

"Do you guys want to bet orb after getting a new rider?"

I'll take Joel Rosario.

11 Apr 2013 11:00 AM

Falling Sky, Den's Legacy, YES!

11 Apr 2013 11:03 AM
Rusty Weisner


Please don't do this to me.  It seems every year (except last year -- somehow I showed the nerve to lay off) I get suckered in trying to cover the UAE horse on some ticket.  I have to put this one in the drawer with Black Onyx as one that will leave me yelling on street corners if he wins.

11 Apr 2013 11:08 AM


Javier picks Normandy over your top pick.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think it was the distance limitations or the fact that he breaks bad every race?  I think this speaks volumes for Normandy Invasion fans when a top jock picks him over a Todd Pletcher trained horse.  That takes alot of guts I believe.  Maybe Revolutionary will pick up Calvin Borel who is the king of bobbing and weaving in the Derby.

Orb got the right pilot for his quest.  There is no one hotter right now than Joel Rosario and I would not want him breathing down my neck in the stretch of the KY Derby!

11 Apr 2013 11:10 AM
Rusty Weisner


Please don't do this to me.  It seems every year (except last year -- somehow I showed the nerve to lay off) I get suckered in trying to cover the UAE horse on some ticket.  I have to put this one in the drawer with Black Onyx as one that will leave me yelling on street corners (as opposed to this blog) if he wins.

11 Apr 2013 11:11 AM
Rusty Weisner


I think NI is the wiseguy horse, too.  A completely conventional-minded ESPN commentator loves him, for example.  He beat a beaten, bleeding Vyjack and never came near Verrazano.

I'm displeased with Oxbow's post because I wanted to bet him.  But did he go wide on the first turn last race?  He did in the Risen Star.  I'm probably taking him, because I think he suffered from a closers' track last out -- I'm also hoping he makes a later move, especially if the track is like the Rebel's, and maybe the new jockey offers some upside.  Maybe he'll be held back a little further; that would be interesting to see.  I think you're right in wanting to wait on him as a longshot in the Derby.  I probably won't have the patience to wait.  

I was waiting for Falling Sky to be entered in this race, too.  I think this is a good spot for him.

11 Apr 2013 11:24 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

He also beat Manando, who quits.

11 Apr 2013 11:25 AM
Rusty Weisner


What do you think about WTC training up to the Derby?  It doesn't seem right to me that Lukas is taking to newfangled ways by giving this horse six weeks before the Derby.  And I liked Oxbow better in the Rebel.

11 Apr 2013 11:35 AM

Wait, wait, wait: Northern Dancer was "over-raced" as a 2YO?

He ran 9 times.  He ran in a maiden and two allowances but otherwise, only in stakes.  He ran in the major 2YO stakes races in Canada and then ended up in with the Remson in November.

This is over-racing?  Only by the standards of these cotton-wrapped, loss-avoiding, stud-value-means-more-than-racing times.

The Dancer was not over-raced.

And he got some pretty good sprinters too.  

So there!

11 Apr 2013 11:58 AM
Rusty Weisner

In leaning towards Orb I keep thinking about what his trainer said about running him at Gulfstream.  At the start of the campaign he thought the fast track was to his disadvantage and that he would have to run him in the Wood to get into the Derby.  There's a chance that he will like the CD surface a lot.

11 Apr 2013 12:06 PM

This isn't a horse genetics blog, and I wish to suggest that the posters here try to refrain from offering mechanistic arguments of which they obviously know little about. Imaparting wrong information is far worse than offering none at all. I hesitate to open this up again, but for one, Casandra.Says has wrongfully rebuked Byron Rogers. Byron's quote was essentially accurate, and Cassandra.Says' remarks are, for the most part, incorrect. She has a basic misunderstanding re-the cause and mechanisms of "damaged" genes (usually held recessively), and if one accepted her "theory" there would in fact be a cummulative-type result, with little apparent diversity to the breed. Horses would then be a very much either/or proposition which is not the reality. Also, the fact is that genetic polymorphism (rather than just an either/or) is very much a reality-coat color but one obvious example. Cassandra.Says has just enough knowledge of biology, etc. to get herself in trouble.  

11 Apr 2013 1:14 PM

Didn't see anything last weekend to give up my favorite Uncaptured. He may or may not be another Swaps with foot problems....but 7 race foundation soon to be 8 in this mess of an inexperienced group, his speed and willingness to try (5 wins and 1 second) is going to be tough. Here's hoping he doesn't let me down Saturday! Second choice Vyjack. Only loss had a cold.

11 Apr 2013 1:20 PM
Steve Haskin

David Merida, I wasnt confident before they took off, so I dont feel much different. Velazquez had to choose Pletcher. And Castellano had personal reasons, although I know he likes Normandy Invasion very much

11 Apr 2013 2:02 PM
Old Old Cat

To Cassandra Says:  Whether the Large Heart is genetic (LHX) or a freak of nature or is due to some environmental influence doesn't matter.  The question is: Was Secretariat's heart significantly larger than the average thoroughbred's??

I accept as a matter of FACT that is was.  A reputable college-trained VETERINARIAN said so.  Presumably he had seen many more horse hearts than you or I.  Presumably he was not just spouting off at the mouth to impress his drinking buddies.  I would think the Vets would be the best people to use as a reference for the insides of a horse.  We don't need someone to go around slaughtering hundreds of Thoroughbreds, in the name of a scientific study, to establish a baseline for the average heart size.  

The only question is whether to accept Secretariat's large heart as fact, or fiction.      

11 Apr 2013 2:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   What do you mean-? There is no question about it. It's going to be an amazing day at Oaklawn. I wonder if they have Grey Goosed? Start packing and get your butt over there and I expect a full report when you get back. Have fun and drive carefully.


  That's what I was thinking that Calvin would be a great fit for Revolutionary and an almost impossible to resist bet, however, Calvin has Texas Bling on Saturday who I think has a shot for a top three at Oaklawn. I think Calvin is riding in the Derby so one of them needs to come through. And what if Gary Stevens gets Oxbow to relax and close better than he has? Calvin and Stevens in the Derby really puts some pizzazz on the pizza. I think Oxbow is already in but I need to see better closing from him to give him a big shot in the Derby.

11 Apr 2013 2:35 PM


I know what you mean about Uncaptured. Barn notes showing he walked shedrow, did not gallop. What's up with that? does anybody know? Love him otherwise, just can't give total endorsement.

11 Apr 2013 2:46 PM
Old Old Cat

Steve, please forgive this wandering thread.  Your column on the Derby Dozen seems to have evolved into "Why we pick our winners on heredity" and "How to breed the perfect horse".

To beat a dead horse deader: Sceptre, I've worked onthe backside at Pimlico, and been a frequent visitor for training at Laurel.  My 2yo is going to Fair Hill this weekend.  Fair Hill has training facilities and opportunities which far outstrip any RACETRACK I have ever seen.  Maybe someone else has seen something better.  The training facility where we are is better than Fair Hill for INDIVIDUAL schooling.  I just witnessed an orchestrated three horse (moderate) gallop around the track with two lead horses coming slightly off the rail, and my 2yo squeezing past Bo-rail style.    You are right that you cannot do that at the track (safely and easily), but I would expect most 2yo training tracks would be able to schedule and handle all the passing, coming by, squeezing thru, scenerios and that's where it should have been done.    

11 Apr 2013 2:59 PM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

Govenor Charlie has never run on synthetic; Sunland is dirt.

11 Apr 2013 3:01 PM
Rusty Weisner


I'm not playing deeper than the exacta in the Bluegrass, so I can ignore Footbridge.  I like Dynamic Sky's chances.  I'll try him in $4 boxed exactas with Uncaptured & Java's War, a $2 box with longest-shot Tesseron, and $1 boxes of Tesseron with those two favorites.

11 Apr 2013 3:10 PM
It aint easy being good!

Colfacts after your rambling and nonsense I do like footbridge and I know you have been 4th all year but footbridge is in a perfect spot and will be way overlooked and this race has been producing bombs every single year. FOOTBRIDGE I AM ON THE BANDWAGON. If your wrong I am going to call you colcuts like everyone else on here!

11 Apr 2013 3:19 PM

I wouldnt read too much into Castellanos decision to abandon Revolutionary in favor of Normandy Invasion who is trained by Chad Brown.He already rides for Pletcher, but probably not for Winstar farm that much, which btw had the only trainee that Pletcher has every had win the Derby SuperSaver and Borel got the mount on him.

Brown has a lot of stakes quality turf horses in his barn so Im not so sure this wasnt a purely business decision going forward and not an admission that Normandy Invasion has a better shot than Revolutionary. Normandy Invasion has only ran well at ONE TRACK Aqueduct.

FoxHill Farms has a lot of horses that they breed, and if Im not mistaken Larry Jones trains a lot of them which could help Castellano if he has a good run with Normandy Invasion.

11 Apr 2013 4:18 PM

Rusty Weisner Im not playing either prep this weekend and have no idea on who I would pick just for fun.

Oaklawn park has a racing surface most similar to Churchill Downs.

In the last three years colts that ran their last prep in the Arkansas Derby have come in 2nd(Bodemeister)2nd 2011 (Nero)2010 1st Super Saver.

11 Apr 2013 4:22 PM

Rusty Weisner when was the last time the Bluegrass winner made any noise in the Derby exacta.

In 2007 Street Sense used his 2nd place finish on the AW as a true prep to run a lot faster at CD which was his home track.

Last year Dullahan ran 3rd and Romans had another runer-up run 3rd out of the Bluegrass in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, so we will see if the winner deserves a shot on your tickets in the KDerby.

I already have in mind what I will do with the winner and possibly the runner-up depending on his running style and how the AW is playing on Saturday.

11 Apr 2013 4:50 PM


I'm guessing that Lukas and/or WTC's owners decided to take the safe route with their 60 pts in hand rather than risk injury.  Perhaps those wide trips in the Smarty Jones and Rebel, along with how he finished up those races, tell them that he can get the 1-1/4.  I expect that Mr. Lukas has a plan for working him up to the race, and he's forgotten more about horses in a week than I'll know in a lifetime, so I won't question it.  I love the pedigree and wouldn't mind a bit if he upset the field on Derby Day.

11 Apr 2013 5:11 PM

Old Old Cat:

Ok, seems wothwhile to respond to a few of your points-

As I recall, several have observed that many new runners exhibit issues when it comes to RACING/passing between horses. You maintained that this can be well taught at training facilities. So, now it's "..."I would EXPECT...", and not-"I have found...". Well, perhaps your expectations are unjustified. There's also quite a difference between galloping between (and you don't mention BETWEEN in what you had observed) horses, and BREEZING between horses. They are not simply galloping in a race. Simulating this at a training facility could prove rather difficult, since most training tracks are relatively narrow. And then there's the risk, especially with green horses. It's a problem, and much of this, unfortunately, is learned "on the job"...Now, as far as Fair Hill. I'm well acquainted with the facility, as all of my horses, and those of my clients, have trained at Fair Hill. It's my opinion that racetrack life for the horse is pretty lousy, and at Fair Hill just a small bit better. The tracks at Fair Hill remain open about the same as the regular tracks, and the horses, for the most part, spend the same amount of long hours in their stalls. There is the opportunity for a bit more grazing at Fair Hill, but it's the same rush/rush, so many there also don't avail themselves of that advantage. There are some turn out paddocks, but most horses don't use them. Yes, the atmosphere is a bit quieter in the afternoons. Believe me, it's no paradise for horses.

Lastly, again, we weren't debating whether or not Secretariat did indeed have a large heart. Try to understand the flow before responding.  

11 Apr 2013 5:14 PM

JC chooses a Normandy Invasion over a Revolutionary - no doubt confusing some on this blog. Ah, the joys of blog disdain. Ha ha

11 Apr 2013 5:34 PM

Rusty Weisner I have now made a pick in the Blue Grass since that is one of the races in the free equibase contest.I am taking a price on a colt 2nd off the layoff at 15-1 Balance The Books.

11 Apr 2013 5:49 PM


Do you really not think we might have missed something good? Suppose they had not run Northern Dancer while he was trying to bow, given him a couple of months off to heal that tendon, and let us see how he ran at the distances and on the surface where his offspring have excelled. Could have been good.

BTW, Northern Dancer got no plodders, but his pure speed horses were mostly inbred. Adjal was 3x3 Native Dancer; Nureyev 3x5 Nearco + 4x4 Hyperion; Northern Taste 2x3 Lady Angela; Local Talent 3x4 Nearco + 4x5 Hyperion.    

11 Apr 2013 6:43 PM


Y'all been waiting for this? Sorry. Not having been raised in the woods by wolves I wouldn't dream of hijacking a message board for a cat fight.

Let me just say Sceptre and her cult are to geneticists as astrologers are to astronomers. As far as I know the X-factor group don't aggressively market their crap so they are one up on the pedigree "experts" who are parasites on the bloodstock industry.

11 Apr 2013 6:52 PM

I'm going to say it before the weekend. I've been looking at Rydilluc again, because I usually like the horses Steve likes. But not this one. I positively dislike this horse.

He is competitive, a high energy horse, but I hate the way he moves. He seems to be all on his forehand, and when his back end does act, it sends him up into the air more than forward. He looks like a really rough ride, and such horses are hard on themselves as well as their riders.

11 Apr 2013 7:01 PM

Cassandra.Says, apology accepted.  I may be uneducated in biology, but not logic.  I do know something about recessive and dominant genes; extensive reading.  But the fact is, we have no way of knowing what a horse is made of until he has had some success on the track; and then all we have to go on is his pedigree, which gives us somewhat of a glipse of whether or not he can get the distance in the TC races.  This is a large crop of very nice horses, so...

I really like War Academy in the Arkansas Derby, just as I liked Revolutionary in the La. Derby. By the way, I won an exacta in the La. Derby, Revolutionary and My Lute.  Good day.

11 Apr 2013 7:02 PM

hirize, the fact that Castellano chose Normandy Invasion means nothing.  Now I am going to explode on this one.  Castellano made a terrible decision last year when he jumped off of the Union Rags bandwagon and chose a Pletcher horsein the Kentucky Derby.  The horse dropped out of the TC races and Castellano was left without a horse.  Leparoux got the mount on UR in the Kentucky Derby and gave him a dreadful ride.  Johhny V. knew this because he had the mount on another horse and was traveling right beside Leparoux and was shocked when Leparoux steered UR right into traffic. So UR skipped the Preakness and Johnny V. got the mount in the Belmont.  Castellano had the mount on Dullahan. So the fact that Castellano chose NI means that NI will likely not win.  I don't like the guy, sorry.

11 Apr 2013 7:50 PM

Calvin Borel and Revolutionary may be a good idea.  There is no doubt in my mind that Calvin would jump at the chance to ride him.

11 Apr 2013 7:53 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The only reason Castellano got off of Revolutionary is so that his very good friend Calvin could pick up the mount and win another Derby on Revolutionary. He'd rather see his dearest friend, best buddy win the Derby than himself. Now that is a good friend. I think this will be #4 for Calvin, right?

11 Apr 2013 9:25 PM

It aint easy being good!

"Colfacts after your rambling and nonsense"

I guess I should take offense to the above but I will pass as you are clearly trying to be funny.

Impoliteness must never be confused with humor.

One does not ramble in writing. The fact that you disagree with my opinions and views, do not make them nonsense.

You do have the option to bypass my posts since you nonsensical.

I have seen some lengthy posts by other contributors. Have you advise them that they are rambling? Have you advised them likewise that you regard their views to be nonsense.

Is there any particular reason you have chosen to be disrespectful?

“If your wrong I am going to call you colcuts like everyone else on here!”

Those who have chosen modified my ID in an attempt to ridicule are not very bright individuals. If you chose to endorse their silliness, then you are likewise not very bright.  

Contrary to popular believe one fool does not have to make many.

Good luck with Footbridge!

11 Apr 2013 9:31 PM
It aint easy being good!

Colfacts calm down I was just saying that I am on board with your pick. When I am referring to your nonsense its all the fourth place finishes you have had the last 4 races. Every horse you picked ran fourth? Correct YES! Footbridge is a bomber that should do better than fourth hence why I am on the bandwagon. That is all! I have extra tissue here if you need it.

12 Apr 2013 11:06 AM

Come on! Who are we to say that Castellano´s election for the Derby was right or wrong. Give me a break! That was his choice, and period. At this point, any of the Mr Haskin list, any of this blog participants,  has practically the same chance to win. Above all in a race like the Kentucky Derby. So, saying that Castellano lost his mind after opting for NI, is even craziest. In may ways this is a fortuitous game. I assume Castellano´s decision obeys to the NI performance in the Wood Memorial. Mr Haskin mentions personal reasons, i really like to know them. In any case, i have no doubt about the stress that involves a decision like this; to "leave" a Platcher colt, one of the favorites, just 4 weeks before the big race, wow, it´s no easy. But, the time will speak.  

12 Apr 2013 11:40 AM
Forbidden Apple

I actually like Orbe even more with the switch to Rosario. Rosario is healthy and can get his horse to finish strongly. He's on top of his trade at the moment.


My mistake, I thought Sunland was a synthetic surface. Either way, wake me up when Govenor Charlie wins a race against Grade I competition. His competition was extremely soft.


What makes you an expert on almost every topic? I could be wrong or you might not be willing to admit it, but I believe you are a backstretch worker. Nothing wrong with that at all, just saying.

12 Apr 2013 12:19 PM
Pedigree Ann

"Given the horse’s inexperience, Baffert was somewhat surprised War Academy was made the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Arkansas Derby. Baffert won the Arkansas Derby last year with another lightly raced colt.

'“I think they’re looking for a Bodemeister again, and I hope they’re right,” Baffert said." -DRF

Bode also hadn't been beaten by horses who went on to prove their hype was all wrong; he had finished a good second to Creative Cause, who was beaten only a nose in the SA Derby.

12 Apr 2013 12:25 PM

I´m with Footbridge....only concern is the lasix issue.  #TeamColdfacts.

12 Apr 2013 1:55 PM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

I didn't say I liked Govenor Charlie.  Put me to sleep if I bet on him.

12 Apr 2013 2:12 PM

Forbidden Apple,

“What makes you an expert on almost every topic?”

I find your question puzzling since I have neither specified nor inferred that I am an expert on any topic.

I would appreciate being advised the basis of your question.

This forum covers the Derby and I do not recall going off topic in any of my posts.

There is nothing wrong with being assertive.

“I could be wrong or you might not be willing to admit it, but I believe you are a backstretch worker."

What exactly are the functions i.e., job descriptions of backstretch workers?

Do they normally project themselves as experts on every topic?

For the record I am a Dish Washer with no academic achievements to my credit.

12 Apr 2013 4:38 PM


Should I assume you have been using the colt I like in the preps in the 4th position?

If you would like me to promote the favorites, then that I can easy do. However you might just not be in a position to complete the super.

12 Apr 2013 4:46 PM

Here we go again playing musical jockey changes, at least we are not at the 11th hour quite yet.  Calvin/Rev, Rosario/Orb, and hope Johnny V is ok by Derby week.  Javier's on who?  It's like the old "who's on first, what's on second."

Nice article from Claire on Rydilluc.  If we see Rydilluc acting well, really ridiculous, in the paddock we have the heads up on why.  This is his normal testosterone-fueled behavior and we won't be alarmed.  This is exactly what we asked be done, warning us beforehand, when Shackleford acted up on tv and we were concerned not knowing it was his normal heated up pre-race behavior.  Nice job by Claire.

Well we have cobra venom and now anticoagulant rodenticides in our thoroughbreds.  After all the summits about stopping the meds it seems these majestic animals are still walking chemical experiments.

The article in BH about the 11 horses having cardiac failure in training is disturbing and I hope they find the cause.

Good luck to Rydilluc.  I may be wrong but I think he is going to prove he is a talented multi-surfaced little devil.

12 Apr 2013 7:29 PM

Jay Jay--re: RTTR.  If Verrazano wins the Derby, the current leader will bury the rest of us.  I'll wager they will fix that next year.  So you had the Derby run in 165,474?  I know some of these times have been slow, but that would be a -107 Beyer,lol!  Good Luck! How are you doing in the WinStar contest?

The Deacon--"The young three year olds just aren't as sound as they were in years past...why is that?"  IMO there have been too many stallions who showed flashes of brilliance and speed in their careers but retired because of soundness issues and they pass those issues on.

Coldfacts--As I predicted, Vyjack finished ahead of Mr. Palmer, it's all in the name.  Good Luck with Footbridge.

Blue Grass--Look for Rydilluc to handle this large field.  Uncaptured will make it close.  I like the way the trainer is setting him up for the Derby, ala Street Sense and Carl Nafzger.  Will box these two with Java's War and Undrafted for the tri.

Arkansas Derby--Oxbow draws another outside post that may comprimise him but set him up well for the Derby.  Den's Legacy to upset them all.

Fab Five:

#1 Orb--With Joel Rosario up just confirms with me that this colt has the right running style, has matured enough and has shown me he wants to power home in the stretch; 10F being right up his alley.

#2 Verrazano--He did just enough in his Wood win, still needs to put his competition away but JV was saving him, have not seen his best.  Still not sure he's a 10F'r, especilly with just 4 races and that Apollo curse, but if he can relax with his quick break on Derby Day, he could do it. On looks, he's the standout.    

 Steve, I need your eagle eye on this guy Derby week.

#3. Revolutionary--Looking for Calvin to get on board.  Main concern is his slow breaks and the traffic he will encounter.

#4  Uncaptured--Just needs to get the points and be moving forward in the stretch in th BG.  Like his race spacing coming up to the Derby and his record at CD.

#5 Normandy Invasion--Setting up nicely for a good run in that long CD stretch.

Thanks Steve, for all your hard work and Good Luck to all this weekend  

12 Apr 2013 8:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Is it true that Ireland is thinking about changing the name of their beloved song, "Danny Boy" to "Wise Danny Boy" in honor of the great Wise Dan?

12 Apr 2013 8:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I think Pletcher is starting to take this Derby thing seriously and has learned a lot so watch out. Isn't this the earliest he has gotten horses to CD prior to the Derby and won't this be the longest stretch he has spent in Kentucky prior to the Derby? He should have 2-4 horses in the race with at least two of the favorites. I see this as the most competitive Derby in years thanks to the outstanding point system. I have a feeling that eliminations won't be as easy as previous years.

12 Apr 2013 9:01 PM


Rydilluc is just too good for these right now.”

A colt that won its last race tracking 49, 1:13 fractions with 116Lbs and in the process beat the slow Charming Kitten, Reporting Star and Quinzieme Monarque, is too good for the Bluegrass field.

Are you aware that Charming Kitten was allowing him 4lbs and only lost by 3 plus lengths?

“West Hills Giant - I expect him to hang around for a share”

A colt that set modest fractions while toting 116Lbs barely hangs on for second at 81/2F and is picking up 7lbs going 1/2F longer, is expected to hang around on a tiring track.

Balance The Books could have an excuse on the ground of fitness for his last performance but his margin of defeat suggests all is not well.

Uncaptured record at distances beyond a mile reads:

WO – 8 1/2F finished 5th by 4 1/2L

CD - 8 1/2F finished 1st by NK

TP - 9F finished 2nd by 2 1/2L

They do not allow Oxygen Tanks on the back of horses.

13 Apr 2013 8:06 AM


Its easy to predict  horse with a top three ML.

That not my game I on always on the look out for the ones that will make exotics worthwhile.

It's a concept that many will never understand as bragging rights seems to thump pay outs

13 Apr 2013 10:13 AM

Been off-line all week, and I know this won't post today.  Excuse me as I have not read all the comments as yet.

In the Arkansas Derby, as much as I want War Academy to win, I think his lack of stakes experience will be detrimental.  I think this may be Oxbow's time to shine.

In the Blue Grass, it will be really rough for Java's War to close from waaay back.  But if he's kept midway, he stands a great chance to take this stakes.  I think this is his race.  

As for my DD:

1.) Orb...can't help it...really love his ability and breeding.  However, I also think he's a very lazy horse who's easily distracted.  He's won his races with ease, but is competitive.

2.) Revolutionary...won out over Verrazano on sheer intelligence.  He's special, and a champion in the making.

3.) Verrazano...while his ability at the distance has been questioned, I think this guy is a freak...who could take the whole long as he doesn't fall prey to injury.

4.) It'smyluckyday..consistent and Competitive.  Now that he's had a tune-up, I think he's ready for the big dance.

5.) Vyjack...Nothing surprises me with this colt.  Here's hoping the bleeding issue can be controlled.

6.) Black Onyx...still have questions about his ability on dirt because RH10 sires turf winners, but he so beautiful and dangerous, he can't be ignored.

7.) Goldencents...Best of the West?  Maybe...but just look at my top 6 to see what's waiting for him in the East.

8.) Java's War...I think he can...I think he can..maybe he will!

9.) War Academy...all talent, but short on experience.  Today may be his day, but Oxbow's been waiting a long time for his.

10.) Will Take Charge...because he has a beautiful stride and is already in the gate.

11.) Oxbow..He's a damn fine colt who's tired of being a bridesmaid.  Today may bring out the true grit.

12.) Secret, he's probably not coming but he's all talent, and I think he's better than Lines of Battle.

Now, maybe I'll get some time to check out all the other posts.  Best of luck to everyone today!

(ps: A bit disappointed Rosario did not choose Vyjack for his Derby mount...what does that tell us?)

13 Apr 2013 10:34 AM
Old Timer

Steve, I seldom have much difference with you on the Derby Dozens over the years. Plus I realize that I'm talking about the bottom #12 horse, but how can you replace Will Take Charge with the Dubai horse. LOB will be traveling half way across the world and UAE Derby winners have yet to make a splash in the Kentucky Derby. (I know that you called it a stab)Meanwhile Lukas will have WTC well rested and ready to eat the bear. He has already won two preps.

On a separate note, I do not ever  recall as much "jockeying" as this year with the Derby mounts.

13 Apr 2013 10:46 AM

trackjack : hahaha yeah, that's like the whole field running after 10 mint juleps.  I'm doing much better at Winstar, I think i'm in the 200s and looking to score major points today to hopefully get me closer.  Good luck this weekend man, and GL to the contests!

13 Apr 2013 11:52 AM

For whoever asked...if a horse bleeds (throat and lungs) he cannot breathe.  If he cannot breathe, he cannot run. (He's actually drowning in his own blood if it's severe).

When a horse is running in the front 4, and very suddenly drops back (ala Pants On Fire in the Ky. Derby), he probably bled.

13 Apr 2013 12:08 PM
Pedigree Ann

To add to what Slew said:

And if one gets a lot of phlegm in one's mouth and throat, it feels like it is sealed shut. You have to swallow before you can get the flap on the windpipe open to breathe. I am speaking from experience, as I am allergic to the entire outdoors in the Bluegrass.

I always thought that Cutlass Realty's big change in form from East to West was that he went from high humidity, high pollen areas to a low humidity, low pollen area. So when he went back east to run in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, I was sure he would fade in the stretch, like he had before he emigrated.

13 Apr 2013 4:21 PM

Anybody starting to like a War Pass exactor a little bit?

13 Apr 2013 6:10 PM
Ted from LA

Arkansas Derby: 9-10-2-5.  Box them every which way but loose.

13 Apr 2013 6:12 PM

Oaklawn undercard -- did anybody notice Nehro finished up the track in a n/w 2x $40k optional?

Sometimes you can go forever waiting for those horses who are always closing to get there on time.

13 Apr 2013 6:27 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

i think the pace is going to be the final link between  what can you do and what you can't,this year the money won in grade races is going to be the guide to see who has the last race class!! or the last race win but if this race is been considered the mother of all races they need  to allow the people who has been fair to this game have the chance to show what they can do base on the sacrifice the have put in this game for so long. but one think is to be stupid and other to be,so war pass,Dixie  Union who did sire last year belmont winner and more then ready Verrazano's sire are the sires who are going to produce a derby winner? then i will try to figure what happen with this beautiful race i hope one more trend is going to fall this year you ware beaten by 18 lengths and then you finished 2d in a $1,000.000 race? is this form? or are you an oportunistic but very soon you will see that this race name is the kentucky derby.  

13 Apr 2013 8:29 PM
El Kabong

With glowing hearts, we see thee rise,

The True Horse strong and Free,

From far and wide

O Java's War, we stand on guard for thee!!!!

13 Apr 2013 8:48 PM

After today's preps I  believe Steve has the top 4 correct. I would have them in this order though: Orb, Normandy Invasion, Revolutionary and Verrazano.

Now, for the 'kiss of death' post draw.  

13 Apr 2013 8:58 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

for me the Kentucky Derby is like a psychological evaluation and if you are the weakest link you will loose why? because something that has happen before can happen again the difference is between the past and the present MR EDDY said somthing about my coments  and i am sorry for my finish but i hope he do not talk about the derby with me,this is my 2d family and you can be sure that to interpret class,form and pedigree you do not need to know how to finish but you need how to win.      

13 Apr 2013 9:03 PM

Well the last "100 pointers" have been run and neither of the winners will crack my top 5.

Java Gold's win in the Blue Grass flatters Verrazano who is still my number 1.  I'm more concerned about Johnny V out due to injury until just a couple of days before the Derby than I am about the extra furlong.

Overanalyze looked impressive drawing off in the stretch, but I think looks are deceiving. The pace was slow and the final 3/16ths (at more than 39 seconds) was slow, albeit the winner's come-home fractions were a little faster as he wasn't among the leaders until the top of the stretch.  Still, I think it was more a case of the leaders stopping than Overanalyze exploding in the stretch.

What I am really interested to see is who will ride Revolutionary.  There are still a few goods jocks on the outside looking in, including Calvin Borel, who would be my pick as the horse needs a jockey that can help him get the right trip and Calvin seems to have an edge at Churchill Downs.

13 Apr 2013 9:05 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

now the horse that you din't like in the derby because his breeding then went on to win the Belmont can MR Eddy answer that for me? the derby was 10 fur. the belmont was 12 furlongs what do you think happen there?.

13 Apr 2013 9:14 PM

Govenor Charlie still has the fastest time at 1 1/8 miles.Overanylize the slowest of the prep winners.2 Midnight Lute's.2 Into Mischief's and 2 War Pass's in the starting 20 on Derby day.Where are the Tiznow's Smart Strike's Distorted Humor's Bernadini's A.P Indy's who keep having the highest priced yearlings and 2yo's?

13 Apr 2013 9:23 PM

Dr D I already have a list for tosses it is the trainers that only have one entrant.Out of those 10 trainers that only have one entrant I only like one of them in the win pool.The other spots of the exotics are another matter but now I have my first list but instead of a dozen its only 11.

13 Apr 2013 9:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Looks like at least one will get in with 20 points. It won't be Carve because they didn't nominate him. Very close between my top five and I could shake them up and roll them out and be happy with any order. Training, physicality, and final pps will narrow it down to two or three to key on and they won't necessarily be from my current top five.

1. Revolutionary- Borel would be a great fit for his style and courage.

2. Verrazano- I like him better all the time. It just feels like he toys with the opposition.

3. Java's War- Powerhouse performance but he really likes Keeneland.

4. Palice Malice- Could really take to CD surface.

5. Orb- Gets the job done.

6. Itsmyluckyday-Could peak Derby day and surprise.

7. Vyjack-Talented.

8. Overanalyze-Another that was unimpressive first race of the year, regaining form, could also peak at the right time.

9. Lines of Battle-Depends on when they get to CD and how he trains on the track.

10. Normandy Invasion-Wavering on if he is 10f or just 9f.

11. Mylute-Ped seems iffy.

12. Frac Daddy-I think he might like CD based on pedigree and stride.

13. Goldencents-Glazed, plain, apple fritter or sprinkles on top? Don't know what to make of him. I thought he was a miler but last was good at 9f.

13 Apr 2013 10:57 PM

trackjack : I'm now at 185 in the Winstar - had Overanalyze which helped a lot.  I've got a pretty good chance in the Derby I think:  Orb, Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Mylute and Goldencents.

13 Apr 2013 11:27 PM


I appreciate your thoroughness looking for live exotic players.  Just trying to have some fun with names. Good Luck with your Derby selections.

14 Apr 2013 1:16 AM


Genetics has gone way past us. Recessive and dominant, for instance, are sooooo last century, and 'now' geneticists don't think there is any such thing as a gene.

We went for a century opining about what might be behind the changes we observed in phenotypes. Then came the electron microscope. The changes represented such a quantum leap that a lay person couldn't keep up, so too many of us hugged our Mendelian guesses like a security blanket and pretended it still described the elusive reality.

There are still people around who think bay is dominant and chestnut is recessive.

14 Apr 2013 3:54 AM

Footbridge finished last and I have just finished consuming a large plate of crow.  He back out of it by the half mile in what were modest fractions.

Could his poor performance be related to the track? Post-race reports will tell.

Although I did not view Palace Malice as the likely winner he ran far better than I had expected off short rest. Those who liked him got a bad beat as I though he was home.

AS specified in a previous post, when Mr. McPeek was busy referring to Verrazano as freak, he would have been rushing to fine tune his program for his colt Java’s War as he ran a big race in the TBD.

War Academy was pulled up and walked off. I hope he is OK. In a previous post I highlighted concerns for the colt and doubted whether he would exit the race sound. Horses from overbred stallions are less likely to make the Derby field and if they do, they are usually none factors. Giant’s Causeway bred 194 mares in 2009 and it appears he will be without a Derby starter.

Dan’s Legacy is just outside the top 20. His sire Medaglia D’ Oro also bred 194 mares. If Dan’s Legacy does not draw into the field his sire Medaglia D’ Oro will also be without a starter.

Who would back Dan’s Legacy with confidence if he draws into the race?

Mr. Pletcher has four in the Derby and will account for 25% of the field yet again. He rarely wins when he has so many starters but I hope 2013 will be an exception as I really like Revolutionary.

On to Louisville!

14 Apr 2013 7:37 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Chief P

   You're way ahead of the game if you're right, and you often are right. I'm leary of eliminating anyone yet unless I absolutely don't think they'll get 10f in anywhere near a good time. Still a long ways to go for me. I just hope I catch the right bus, and on time.

14 Apr 2013 10:12 AM

Dr. D, out of your picks, the ones with the pedigree for longer distance are Revolutionary, Itsmyluckyday, and maybe Goldencents, not sure about him.  I'm throwing Black Onyx in the mix too.   There are others with okay pedigrees, but the above mentioned horses are superior. Too bad War Academy was pulled up, loved his pedigree.  My favorite horse is still Revolutionary, no reason to change right now.

14 Apr 2013 12:13 PM
Forbidden Apple

Cold Opinions,

I believe Footbridge finished last! I think it's time to move on and quit mentioning his name as if he was anything more than a maiden winner. You trashed another trainer for no reason at all. Take a look at Harty's record, enough said.

14 Apr 2013 12:50 PM
El Kabong



Looking forward to your list and analysis of this well bred colt with a colorful owner(everyone should check out the post race interview--very funny).

14 Apr 2013 1:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Departing will have to go onto my list. He might have a chance to make the field.

14 Apr 2013 4:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Departing is out, not being considered for Derby, it appears.

14 Apr 2013 6:44 PM

It has been an interesting road to the Derby so far, I find it interesting that of the top twenty two year olds that Steve listed on 12/12/12 only six have made it into the top twenty in the point system for the Derby. Those are:

Normandy Invasion




Frac Daddy

Super Ninety Nine

Think I will play this group as tri and super box come Derby day, just for the fun of it.

14 Apr 2013 8:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I think Palace Malice and Java's War have the best distance pedigrees. I think Revolutionary has the best Derby pedigree. It still comes down to talent, speed, stamina, stride, determination, a good ride and a little luck. Plenty of Derby winners didn't appear to have the best pedigree. Pedigree is a little overrated unless it is a sprinter's pedigree but I do have my own pedigree pet peeves while being careful not to let that be the prime determining factor. You can also have a great distance pedigreee and be only really good sprinting. If you love Revolutionary otherwise, then his pedigree is a bonus.

14 Apr 2013 10:32 PM

predict: I don't think Uncaptured or Super Ninety Nine are going, but in regards to "99", being a Baffert horse, you never know.

Verrazano wasn't on anyone's list 12/12 as he hadn't run yet.  I doubt too many will be leaving him off now.

14 Apr 2013 10:44 PM

Giant's Causeway is the leading stallion in the world and has sired champions and/or classic winners in eight countries. He has led the North American general sire list 3 times with 8 crops having raced through 3 years.

It reminds me of General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove angsting over loss of "our precious bodily fluids."

To say he's over-used because he has not sired one of ten particular horses is ridiculous. More than 99% of all stallions have not sired one of those particular 10 horses.

14 Apr 2013 10:50 PM
Sail On

It's still too early to settle on derby picks. Maybe more horses should withdraw. wouldn't mind seeing the Kitten in this, was he nominated? At this point it looks like Verazzano runs away with it with Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion ties for second, and a toss up for third with Java and Golden hanging in there. The rest, including Vyjack should he actually run will be also rans.

15 Apr 2013 12:24 AM

The Florida contingent of 3-year-olds looks the best right now. That being said, I like Orb even more. His times are slow but he went wide in his races; and besides,everybody else's time is slow. Orb's bottom female line "Rocks"...Unbridled, Damascus, Laughter(Bold Ruler), Shennanigans(Native Dancer)....Hope he can zig-zag through traffic!

15 Apr 2013 4:03 AM

Forbidden Apple,

With all due respect Sir, I acknowledged that in my post. Kindly revisit same.

War Academy finished last and so did Delhomme. They at least ran on dirt. I am making no excuses for Footbridge but is was by far  his worst performance and it was on a surface that his pedigree suggest he should have performed.

With synthetic a horse has to adapt or is likely it will deliver either a poor or substandard performance. It's the nature of the beast.

Mr. Bafrret and Mr. Pletcher run far better programs than Mr. McLaughlin. The placements and consistency of their charges far supersede those of the trainer you so strongly defend.

Mr.. McLaughin is not the only trainer on which I criticisms.

You clearly like his program and I understand you fury.

15 Apr 2013 7:09 AM

Forbidden Apple,

It appears you are now harboring serious dislikes for the Coldfacts. LOL

I see you have change my posting ID to Cold Opinions. Have you been taking tips from the KY VET?

Be not quick to anger at it lies in the lap of the foolish!

I guess my description continues to widen. I am a back stretch worker with cold opinions on various subjects. Convoluted am I?

I am still awaiting the answer to my back worker stretch question?

15 Apr 2013 7:26 AM


I noticed you have Normandy Invasion ranked #2.

Like Palace Malice he enters the Derby with only a maiden victory to his credit. Giacomo was the last horse to win the Derby with such status. Interestingly he was also a deep closer.

Based on NI last three races, he  gives the impression that he lacks the will to win. The really good deep closers always find a way to get their heads on the winning portion of the line. He does not give the impression he will ever get there in time.

His sire Tapit sire 170 mares in 2009. Stallions associated with such large books have not produced many horses that have made the top four.

NI is a nice colt but he has major hurdles to clear to make the board.

15 Apr 2013 7:45 AM

There is no doubt Giant's Causeway is a great sire. He just has a very poor Kentucky Derby record with starters and their associated finishing positions. (Off the board)

Of the 1453 mares he bred between 2002 to 2009, the resulting foal crops have produced 5 Derby starters and none have hit the board. (Average of 181 mare bred per year)

He contested all but one of his 13 starts on turf. He is probably a better turf/synthetic sire.

With his record in the Derby I would avoid using his horses in the top spot if and when they make the field.

He is not the only stallion that has exceeded 140 mares bred each year that has not sired a Derby winner.

For those stallions, more mare bred means less chance of a Derby winner.

I do not make this up as the cold facts are there to verify the findings.

15 Apr 2013 8:03 AM


Good point, I agree, can't imagine what genetic difference the number of breedings would make. But, when it comes to genetics I try to keep an open mind, mainly because we know alot yet so little about this incredible process. Especially inlight of some recent studies that have concluded that environment does have an effect on outcome in mice breedings. Who would have thought?

I always appreciate your knowledgeable posts and have a question for you; Do you know if Giant's Causeway's offspring are more or less successful when he is crossed with a mare that has RAN present?

15 Apr 2013 11:14 AM
Pedigree Ann

"Although I did not view Palace Malice as the likely winner he ran far better than I had expected off short rest."

Two weeks falls within the time when the remodeling of bone and muscle that he gained from his last race is still there to be used. You let the horse 'rest' too long -4,5,6 weeks - and you lose that extra physical progression.

15 Apr 2013 9:41 PM
leslie j

I like Palace Malice. Curlin went unraced at two. Palace Malice Malice was born in May.  He's just begone to get the idea. The rough trips will  only toughen him.

16 Apr 2013 2:44 PM

Half that field had no business even attempting that derby was laughable to watch them come last quarters in 30 seconds like bad standerbreds

05 May 2013 4:12 AM

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